Sometimes, communication is not about coordinating stakeholder action, but about inspiring stakeholders to take action of their own accord. This kind of communication is almost always about capturing hearts and minds—the mobilization and alignment of stakeholders with the achievement of the project outcomes. One of the key questions here is who is the right person, who is best positioned to influence and inspire action?
Stakeholder engagement is one of the most important factors in the successful delivery of projects.
On 24th February 2017, the Cape Town PMO forum hosted by PwC deliberated over what role the PMO should play in promoting good stakeholder engagement on projects.
We were conscious that there is a fine line between the PMO facilitating good practices; acting as a broker between the project and its stakeholders; and taking on the role of leader in stakeholder engagement. The more responsibility the PMO takes, the higher the risk that it disempowers the project and threatens the creation of effective project-stakeholder relationships. That said – it is clear the PMO has the potential to support and encourage good stakeholder engagement practices. How to get the balance right?
‘Communication as persuasion’ attempts to change the positions of stakeholders and align them with the aims of the project. In these projects, the resistance to the change is often high, and the agendas of the different stakeholder groups varied. Neither marketing nor ‘communication to inspire action’ is sufficient.
Communication as marketing is not designed to create actions or to sell a specific solution, but to promote the project. Here the important questions are around what can we do that is likely to be well-received by those stakeholders that matter, and how will this support the long-term positive reception of the project and its outcomes?