Effective Solutions Through Partnership

Category Archives: Communications

Why Successful Meetings Start with Stakeholder Management

Best Practices, Communications, Continuous Improvement, Employee Engagement, Managing/Leadership, Project Management, Sacramento, Team Building

By Stephen Alfano, PMP®, CSM®

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been in a meeting that was derailed by a dominating or distracting stakeholder. Now, concentrate on that scenario: Do you remember how you reacted to the meeting going off track?

If you attended the meeting as a secondary stakeholder—in a role like a union representative or a regulator not tied directly to an outcome of the meeting—the event probably made you feel a bit confused or at the very least a little uncomfortable for the person running the meeting.

However, if you were a primary stakeholder—accountable for a project or an outcome tied to the meeting—you might remember feeling like you witnessed a total train wreck.

Regardless of your takeaway, I’ll wager that everyone—except the stakeholder at the center of the disruption—left that meeting shaking their head wondering why someone (anyone!) didn’t anticipate that the meeting might be at risk of being derailed. Better still, I’ll double my wager that the root cause of the derailment comes from insufficient insight and analysis on the stakeholder in question. In other words, I’ll bet the house that the meeting would have stayed on track with Stakeholder Management on the scene.

Stakeholder Management is an essential component in the delivery of business processes or activities.

Stakeholder Management identifies the needs of vested participants and helps rank (arrange and prioritize) their power, interest, and influence levels in context to one another and in alignment with the overarching strategic goals and objectives of the organization, program, or project driving the delivery.

That’s why a project owner or manager with a Stakeholder Management Plan in hand can anticipate and approach disruptive stakeholder behavior quickly and effectively—especially in a meeting.

The key to effective Stakeholder Management comes from a continuous, laser-like focus on the significant interactions between and impact on people—playing roles as individuals, inside groups, or within organizations.

Maintaining a high level of awareness and engagement with stakeholders to assess, analyze, and then align their needs and expectations—often referred to as providing “care and feeding” throughout the delivery lifecycle—is a demanding job.

It’s a job that requires masterful interpersonal skills like leadership, motivation, and active listening, as well as proven project management skills like risk management, negotiating, and critical thinking.

Of course, there are many other skills involved in stakeholder management that I could list here, but I wouldn’t want to get off track. 😉

For more insight on running successful meetings, check out these links:

How to Run a More Effective Meeting
https://www.nytimes.com/guides/business/how-to-run-an-effective-meeting

Five principles for getting more done as a team
https://slackhq.com/run-effective-meetings

7 Ingredients for Effective Team Meetings, Distilled from Two Years of Torture
https://blog.hubstaff.com/effective-team-meetings/

Do you have questions or comments regarding Stakeholder Management including best practices? Submit them in the form below!

About the Author: Stephen Alfano is an Organizational Change Management Consultant and Communications Expert. He has over 30 years of experience leading and managing internal and external marketing initiatives for both private and public-sector clients. His résumé includes providing both new business and business process improvement services to Apple, American Express, AT&T, California Department of Transportation, Chevron, Entergy, Levi Strauss & Co., Louisiana Office of Tourism, Mattel, Microsoft, Novell, SONY, Sutter Health, and Wells Fargo. Stephen currently works as an Executive Consultant—PMP®, CSM® with KAI Partners, Inc., providing change management and communications expertise and project management support services on several active contracts.

Bizwomen Mentoring Monday Event Recap

Communications, Event Recap, Marketing, Sacramento

Photo Credit: Sacramento Business Journal

By Shyanne Long, CSM

The Bizwomen Mentoring Monday event was held at the Sacramento State University Union Ballroom this year. There are 43 mentoring events by Business Journals throughout the country. During the introduction, it was shared that the Sacramento event was the third largest in size!

The first portion of the event consisted of mixing and mingling while enjoying some light refreshments. The sponsors had booths set up and they were handing out goodies while spreading the word about their organizations. Once everyone got settled in their seats, we were welcomed by the publisher of the Sacramento Business Journal. It was funny when he pointed out that he was the only man in the room. All the women looked around the room at each other and laughed. It was refreshing to see a room full of women varying in age, race, experience, and expertise.

Tina Reynolds, the founder and president of Uptown Studios, was the keynote speaker for Mentoring Monday. She offered a great sense of humor, confidence, honesty, and some helpful advice to the group. It was inspirational to hear her story and that many years of hard work paid off for her. One thing she said that stuck with me was that “we are all mentors.” We all have something to offer and can help people grow. Mentoring doesn’t have to just be about business. A mentor can support you through tough times in life, as well.

After Tina wrapped up her speech, the speed mentoring sessions began. All the mentors sat at tables and when you wanted to talk to a specific person, you’d line up to do so. Each session was seven minutes long and when the time was up, they’d ring a big bell.

Someone who stood out for me was Christine Mahon, the Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Associated General Contractors of California. She was in Sacramento’s Top 40 Under 40. I wanted to talk to her because I am studying communications in college and wanted to gain insight from someone who does it in their job every day. I gained specific tips and advice from her that I plan on using throughout my time in college.

I’d love to attend this event again next year. If you are considering going, I’d highly recommend it. I know it can be intimidating to talk to a lot of strangers, but the mentoring is well worth it–and the seven minutes flew by while speaking with the mentors!

About the Author: After completing the internship program, Shyanne is now an Associate Business Analyst for KAI Partners. She attends Sierra College and is studying Communications. Ms. Long plans on transferring to a university after completing her units at Sierra College. Shyanne is passionate about expanding her knowledge, working collaboratively, and making powerful connections. For fun, Shyanne enjoys spending time with her family, reading, listening to podcasts, volunteering, and (attempting) to recreate recipes she finds on Pinterest.

How to Promote User Adoption Success [INFOGRAPHIC]

ADKAR, Communications, Employee Engagement, Infographic, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Project Management, Prosci, Sacramento, Training, User Adoption

At the heart of any project is people. If you want to make sure your project is implemented successfully, you should have a complimentary OCM initiative that focuses on the people (users!) and setting them up for success.

One way to do this is by following KAI Partners’ user adoption approach. Take a look at this infographic for tips to help ensure user adoption on your next project!

3 Ways to Build Trust on a Change Management Initiative

ADKAR, Best Practices, Communications, Digital Transformation, IT Modernization, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Project Management, Project Management Professional (PMP), Prosci, Sacramento

By Denise Larcade, CSM, CSPO, LSSGB, Prosci

When working for a client as an Organizational Change Management (OCM) practitioner, you sometimes also wear your Project Management hat. Your Project Management hat ensures the change is addressed from a technical aspect. Your OCM hat helps you address the impact of that technical change on people.

I recently had an opportunity to implement a new program within our internal organization. During this assignment, I assumed both the role of project manager and change manager. Wearing both hats and switching between hats proved to be important to a successful implementation.

At the end of the implementation, I took a look at the project and asked myself a few key questions to help me improve for future projects:

  1. Did I miss an opportunity to take off the Project Management hat and put on the OCM hat?
  2. Did I switch hats often enough?

I know from my change management experience that bolting change on the end of a project is not the way to handle change. I also know that these three key elements are needed to ensure success:

  1. Technical expertise
  2. Change agent implementation experience
  3. Change agent with good relationships

While all three of these are important, it’s the establishment of good relationships that can truly make or break a successful implementation. This is where taking off the Project Management hat and putting on the OCM hat is important.

Contrary to what some may think, a “good relationship” does not mean simply meeting or knowing the people you are working with. You must have trust and credibility, as well.

Here are some ways to build trust and credibility:

  1. Executive support and sponsorship – a sponsor or leader can aid in communicating and building the trust and credibility of a change agent.
  2. Foster your relationships – show competence, be genuine and sincere; be accountable, honest, and respectful.
  3. Earn it – trust and credibility are earned, so start developing the right type of relationships early in the project to allow time to earn trust.

I always welcome an opportunity to grow and learn new ways of doing my job better. My recent project surprised me in a lot of ways—most importantly, by reminding me that OCM success often means switching hats frequently to make sure all aspects of the project are run effectively.

About Denise: Denise Larcade is an Organizational Development Consultant and Merger and Acquisitions Expert. She is a Certified ScrumMaster, Certified Scrum Product Owner, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and is Prosci certified. She has over 25 years of experience in training, development, and leading companies through organizational change management. Denise has worked in corporate retail, technology, and government healthcare and most recently has experience with large-scale implementations nationwide. She currently works as an Executive Consultant with KAI Partners, Inc., providing client support to KAI Partners’ state clients. Denise grew up in the Silicon Valley and relocated to Utah and Idaho before recently returning to her native California roots.

Census 2020: 3 ways California Counties Can Get Support for Census Outreach

Census 2020, Communications, Government, Project Management, Project Management Professional (PMP)

With Census 2020 fast approaching, California is poised to invest over $150 million to help ensure each citizen is counted.

To help reach the “hard-to-count” populations, Counties across California are receiving nearly $26 million in state funds to promote outreach activities, including increasing awareness and improving local response rates.

This is a substantial investment compared to 2010, when state budget problems meant only a fraction was spent on reaching the hard-to-count communities.

Census 2020 outreach programs are a golden opportunity for Counties to ensure each of their residents are counted and to help secure their fair share of federal funds for the next ten years.

California Counties have until February 8th to accept their allocation of state funds, but the state will work on extending the deadline with any County wishing to participate.

KAI Partners understands that finding the time and staff resources for a census outreach program can be a daunting task and fortunately, we can help.

Here are three ways KAI Partners’ services can help Counties make Census 2020 outreach a success:

  1. Project Management support: As a condition of receiving state funds, Counties are responsible for developing a strategic plan, implementation plan, and various reporting requirements all on a tight timeline. Project managers possess an ideal skill set for successfully meeting these requirements while also maximizing the probability of a successful locally-led census outreach program.

    For Counties struggling to find direction on where to start, or those that lack staff bandwidth to manage the program, an experienced project manager is an ideal solution—and one that KAI Partners can provide. Our certified Project Management Professionals (PMP)® will work with County staff to properly plan, execute, and report this important work.
  1. Communication and Outreach services: As part of a County’s strategic plan (which is required within 60 days of accepting state funds), a County is required to map out its outreach efforts, including articulating strategies, tactics, timelines, and partners for a local grassroots campaign to reach hard-to-count individuals.

    This is no small challenge for local governments. Luckily, the KAI Partners’ team can fill the gaps a County may have in meeting this time-consuming requirement. We understand that finding the right community partners can help hard-to-count communities realize the importance of the census and give them the confidence to respond. Our approach towards building a successful grassroot census outreach plan focuses on identifying these partners and trusted third-party messengers.
  1. Managing a Coordinated Effort: While the Census is federally managed by the US Census Bureau, government agencies of all types—ranging from the State of California to tribal governments to cities—play a key role in educating and motivating Californians to be counted. The level of coordination between these entities becomes even more complex when factoring in the state’s $47.5 million media advertising campaign and the community-based organizations that will be contracted to support census outreach efforts.

    Many Counties lack the staff time to track all the stakeholders and synergize their collective efforts. KAI Partners can help with this coordination gap and ensure County outreach programs build on the work done being by other partners; KAI Partners can serve as the point of contact while tracking and coordinating with other stakeholders.

Getting the count right for the 2020 Census is a high-stakes challenge that will affect local government funding for the next decade. Maximizing state funds to reach hard-to-count communities is a huge opportunity for Counties—a partnership with KAI Partners can help make County census efforts a success.

Interested in learning more about how KAI Partners can help your County’s Census 2020 outreach efforts? Call us today at 916-465-8065.

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