Some stakeholders are just better at helping us do our jobs. While some people carry on and get distracted by any sort of new, cool idea that makes its way into your conversation, others stay focused and even help you stay focused and on track. Some people start explaining things in the middle of a process while others seem to begin right where you need them to for a full understanding.
Do you tell your business stakeholders what they are doing right?
Catch Your Stakeholders Doing Something Right
Let me share a short story with you about giving positive feedback to a stakeholder. This particular stakeholder was a manager and the first time I met with her and one of her direct reports to learn about their IT requests, my head was swimming with details and clicks and process and procedure. But I got enough to get a preliminary list of enhancements that I could talk through in a more measured pace.
During the second conversation the manager seemed to tell me just what I needed to know. Every explanation started just early enough in the process and had just enough context that I could very easily wrap my head around it.
Before ending the meeting, I looked the stakeholder in the eye and sincerely thanked her for everything she had shared and let her know how helpful it was that she was able to explain things all the way through.
She beamed with pride. I started forming a positive partnership and cultivating trust with that one sincere compliment.
Help Your Stakeholder Help You
But it gets better. A few days later I was working through the details of some of the higher priority requests with her and her direct report. Her direct report kind of jumped into the middle of the process. The manager stopped her and asked her to explain this and that. She was helping her employee become a better stakeholder and I really believe this was a direct result of the positive feedback I gave her.
So, I ask you, do you tell your stakeholders how they are being helpful? Are you aware of what makes them more helpful or do you just gripe about what makes them difficult? How amazing do you think you could be if you put your “manager” hat on as a BA and try to catch your stakeholders doing something right?