I recently gave a keynote address to a mid market construction company and to wrap up the speech, we conducted a stakeholder leadership exercise. While I was wandering around the audience during the exercise, I came across a project manager who was struggling with the concept of prioritizing his stakeholders and what was even more challenging, he was struggling with the idea that he could not have ten #1 priorities! He had four customers listed, his division VP, the CEO of the company, two estimators and two supervisors. They were all #1 priorities! Right? Wrong!
Let's think about that for a minute. Can you really serve ten stakeholders at the same level? And even if you had ten #1 stakeholders, would you be able to exceed their expectations? Probably not.
Stakeholder leadership forces you to make choices. To choose your stakeholders, prioritize those stakeholders, fully understand the needs of those stakeholders and to choose a realistic plan to meet those stakeholder needs.
Can you serve everyone? Learn to make tough choices! It doesn't mean you're blowing some of your stakeholders off, it does mean you've made a business decision on who to focus on and when.