Communicating with Stakeholders Strategically

“People need to know you care before they care to hear what you know.”

We have conducted thousands of 360 degree feedback initiatives across the globe. The most consistent finding is that visions, missions or purposes are not communicated to all stakeholders or, at least, they didn’t understand or see their role in the long-term initiatives. In our Leadership Survey, the results were also consistent with “Lacks vision, clear direction” (48%) coming in second to “Leadership style” as being the top reasons why leaders fail in today’s organizations. Sad, because that’s where excitement for the future can be generated.

Great leaders inspire others to carry out the organization’s vision and goals enthusiastically and productively. Leaders need to share their visions, strategies and targets. By galvanizing speeches, logical written materials and graphic presentations, they can mobilize stakeholders to be partners in the future.

But, before leaders can get others to follow them, they need to build a personal connection with each of them. The relationship with stakeholders needs to be developed from the quote: “People need to know you care before they care to hear what you know”. This personal connection is an ongoing process for leaders, one that requires them to take a truly strategic view of how they spend their one-on-one time with direct reports.

Source: NBOGroup Pyramid of Leadership Success, Leadership Development Framework

Leaders cannot ad lib every communication session. They must think and plan ahead as to what is the objective, what are the questions to ask, and how to anticipate others’ reactions. In other words, you need to prepare for all meetings like a speech.

Engaging staff and stakeholders takes thought. Building that relationship network develops trust. The more others trust the leader, the more willing they will be to follow and perform at a higher level.

Leading a group of talented individuals presents a challenge! To surmount these challenges requires building strong relationships characterized by trust, respect and aligned interests. By developing quality relationships, you earn the right to motivate valuable stakeholders.

Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important. The only way to influence someone is to speak to his needs. All things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or actual action creation.