Getting buy-in from stakeholders

by Elise Stevens | Futureproof Your Career Podcast

You’ve got project approval, you’ve got a sponsor, your stakeholders have turned up to the first meeting – but do you have real buy-in?

When experienced program director and program manager Julia Steel decided to write a book to help project managers she took a long, hard look at the good projects she’d managed, and then the not-so-good ones. She found the difference always came down to the people involved in the project and her relationships with them.

As she tells Elise Stevens, the success of a project often rests on whether your stakeholders trust and respect you enough to truly buy-in to your project.

Points raised in this podcast:

  • Project managers often rest on their laurels when it comes to stakeholder buy-in to their detriment.
  • Projects rarely succeed on the strength of frameworks and standards, but are built on honest conversations.
  • Project approval doesn’t mean everyone is on board. It’s just a starting line from which to build an ongoing commitment.
  • A project is much harder to deliver when the stakeholders are not committed to its success.
  • It all rests with you. Do people buy-in to you, your leadership and therefore, your project?
  • Being clear with your stakeholders about what you expect from them can prevent misunderstandings and disappointments.
  • Stakeholders and sponsors make decisions every day about which meetings to take and where to direct their focus. Most of the time, they make these decisions not with logic but based on how they feel about people. Do they trust you and respect your opinion enough to spend their valuable time on your project?
  • Blaming the stakeholder for their lack of buy-in won’t achieve anything.

About Julia Steel:

Julia Steel is a speaker, trainer, and mentor who also considers herself to be an Engagement and Innovation Evangelist. Located in Melbourne, Australia, she most recently graduated from the Stanford School of Business with a qualification in Corporate Innovation, Business Administration and Management. She currently runs her own business, and is well known for her project management, project portfolio and service delivery related service offerings.

You can connect with Julia on LinkedIn