In 2013, I wrote a 4 hour exam to earned my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI).
The PMI framework I was tested on includes an entire section on stakeholder management. Stakeholders are people who have influence over the outcomes of your project, or rely on the outcomes of your project.
As we setup a project, we make sure to include those people, organizations, or committees that are or may be impacted by or have influence over our project.
Project structure is similar to business structure, in that, as you setup your business there may be stakeholders that have influence over the startup procedures.
When my wife and I started our photo printing business, the major stakeholder that had go or no-go decision power was the Department of Environment (DOE) because we were dealing with dangerous chemicals that could harm the environment if released into nature.
All decisions and actions related to setting up our business were on hold until the DOE approved our disposal plan (we ended up having a sewage pumping company dispose of them for us).
If we ignored the DOE stakeholder and went forward with our plans, and then got caught…we may have been shut down.
Stakeholders are inside and outside organizations.
I’ve worked in places where a “low-level” employee commanded the respect of the office because of the knowledge and experience they gathered over their years of service.
Ignoring important stakeholders in organization-changing decisions could prove costly in the long run.
If you’re considering making a change in your business, make sure the right people are kept informed and/or made part of the decision.
At the end of the day, it’s your business – but there’s definitely a right way and a wrong way to do things. If people are kept in the loop appropriately, it’ll reduce stress in the long run.
Your job is to figure out who has what power, and make sure they are involved at the appropriate level in planning and decision-making.
Who do you need to consult with that may have influence over your business or career?