At this time of year many of us are making New Year resolutions; to lose weight, get fit, eat less, drink less...These are all great things to do to improve our bodies and/or our lives. But, after the first flush of enthusiasm, we often lose momentum. I've often felt that if I was truly and fully supported by those around me I could keep those promises, those commitments I'd made to change; otherwise it's just too hard.
When it's a personal thing, family and friends - even support groups like Weightwatchers -do help, although some may choose to sabotage - just the one little cake? They would probably all have a different view of whether you needed to change, what that change should look like, how you should make that change and when they would pronounce you'd succeeded. Regardless of their differing opinions, these stakeholders (because that's exactly what they are!), when supportive, will help you maintain the momentum to make your resolution (your change project) more successful.
I'd like to suggest that if you're a project manager you could add another resolution: "I will engage with my stakeholders". It would be a great way to improve your projects. It's very useful in projects to have a better understanding of where the support lies and how to take advantage of it - and where lack of support may slow you down and even derail you.
If I accept that stakeholders can support or derail me, what should I consider? Is it their power base? Is it their ability to get things done (or to block me)? What should I do to gain support from them? Are there sensible actions I can take? Are they role-based or agenda-based? They all seem to want different things from me!
I want their support - through engagement - to make my projects more successful. Maybe it's possible that this simple New Year resolution for a project manager - engaging with your stakeholders - could bring about successful, long-term change. Why not give it a go!
If you need some ideas or would like help in stakeholder support, just drop me a line on FMagee@citi.co.uk
Managing Consultant, CITI Limited