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My Stakeholders Aren’t Involved – How Do I Change That?

It can be easy to lose sight of things and take the view that the most important people in your project are those who make up your team. However, that’s not the case. While you and your team are certainly central to the success of the project, there are many others that need to be involved. These are your stakeholders. If they’re not involved, you can face many different issues, and run the risk of your project falling flat on its face. What should you do if your stakeholders aren’t involved?
Include Them
A lack of stakeholder involvement might have nothing to do with a lack of interest on their part. It might be something as simple as you not including them in your communications. Actively involving your stakeholders in regular communications not only shows them that they are vital to the project, but that their input is valued. Of course, communicating with stakeholders can be time consuming, particularly if you’re using outmoded methods (like actually calling them on the phone or speaking in person). To foster the best engagement with them, make sure you have project management software that offers collaborative capabilities, and then engage your stakeholders though that medium.
Foster Trust
Project managers should not find this surprising, but many stakeholders don’t trust them or their teams. This is because traditional project management hasn’t always provided good results (failure is all too common). However, you can foster better trust with your stakeholders in a number of ways, including implementing Agile concepts in your project, providing better functionality, and actively including them in conversation, decisions and other project areas (such as using software as mentioned previously).
Outflank Dissenters
It’s natural to have at least one stakeholder that you simply cannot engage, that resolutely refuses to come around. When this occurs, it’s important that you find a workaround. You can do this easily by ensuring that the other stakeholders involved with the project are in agreement and on the same page as you. In most instances, the dissenting stakeholder will be forced to go along with the general consensus.
Define Your Stakeholders at the Outset
In order to ensure that you are doing your job and engaging your stakeholders, you obviously have to know who they are. You need to determine this from the very outset of your project. Stakeholders come in all types, but you’ll find that these are all individuals who have an interest in the project, have ownership in or of it, or who exert influence over part of or the entire project. They can be within your own company, within a client company, or they can even be end consumers or product testers.
With the information above, you should find engaging your stakeholders and keeping them interested and involved in your project a simpler process. However, it is vital that you take active steps to engage your stakeholders from the beginning of the project to avoid serious problems down the road.

What Information Should You Share with Project Champions?

A broad range of people are required to take a project from inception to a successful conclusion. You, the project manager, are vital. Your team members are also important. Your stakeholders are of obvious importance as well. However, the project champion is perhaps the most important individual in the mix. In order to ensure that the champion can do his or her job correctly, you have to share information with him or her throughout the duration of the project. What information do you have to share, though?
The Champion’s Role
In order to fully understand the breadth and depth of information that you’ll need to share with the champion, you have to understand his or her role. Essentially, a champion is exactly what it sounds like. They’re your advocates, your supporters and your problem solvers (on a high level, of course). Often, champions are the people who first determine that there’s even a need for a specific project, and are integral parts of the planning and organization process. They can also play a role in forming your team.
Obstacles and Hurdles
Part of the champion’s responsibilities include helping you and your team overcome hurdles and obstacles that you’ll encounter. As such, you need to share information that pertains to those problems or potential problems. You need to alert your champion when you expect a problem to crop up, as well as when those problems are fully handled and no longer pose a threat. This information might be the quantity of components shipped versus what was ordered, or it might have to do with freight charges rising unexpectedly. Any data that pertains to a problem or potential problem must be shared immediately.
Help with Resistance
You’re going to meet resistance during your project. Many executives still aren’t completely sold on the idea that they even need projects or project managers. You don’t have to face that resistance alone, though. Part of your champion’s duties involve running interference for you between your team and the executives higher up the ladder. When you meet resistance, you need to alert your champion. Provide as much detail as possible, including what incited the issue. Your champion will then go to bat on your behalf.
Communication with Management
Within large organizations, champions take on the role of messengers. You might never have to deal with an executive or manager during your project (this is particularly true with very large firms). However, you will have to communicate with them. If you don’t know these people, your communication can easily go off track. This is where your champion comes in. They’ll take your message to the manager and vice versa, working as a go between.
You need to provide enough information that your champion can perform his or her various functions, but not so much that you drown them in needless details. When in doubt, sit down and work out with your champion what information they want delivered, when they want it and how they want it sent to them.

An Inside Look at the Importance of a Smile in Sales

If you’re in sales, then you’ve probably heard all sorts of advice, from “don’t oversell” to “focus on solving problems.” However, one of the best pieces of advice that many forget is to smile! After all, your smile is one of the first features people notice about you, and it plays an essential role in the first impression you make. Keep reading to learn all about the importance of a smile in sales (as well as how cosmetic dentistry can help!).

Smile: Your Sale Depends on It!

Knowing your product and knowing your audience are key in sales. However, you don’t get far if your client doesn’t trust you or believe you. That’s why it’s so important to make a good first impression! Here are a few ways a smile can help:

• Smiling is more powerful than you might think – One study found that smiling has the same effect on our brain as $25,000 in cash!

• Smiling communicates your state of mind – Smiling is a non-verbal cue that you are happy to be where you are, that you are confident in your product, and that you are ready and willing to help.

• Smiling creates a ripple effect of positivity – Have you ever seen a friend yawn and done the same? Or seen someone take a sip of water and immediately realized you’re thirsty? Thanks to the mirroring neurons in our brains, we naturally mimic the behavior of those around us.

But What If You Don’t Like Your Smile?

If you don’t like your smile, don’t worry – that’s where cosmetic dentistry comes in. Whether you’re struggling with misaligned, misshapen, cracked, or otherwise imperfect teeth, your smile goals aren’t out of reach. The first step? Scheduling an appointment with a skilled cosmetic dentist. For both my father and myself, providing high-quality, personalized, and judgment-free dentistry is a passion. There’s truly nothing better than seeing someone walk out of our office with a dazzling, confident smile! So, don’t wait to make your dream smile a reality – it could make all of the difference when it comes to your personal and professional life!