There is a hierarchy of engagement amongst the digital channels, you use when dealing with stakeholders. In this post, we want to help you understand how this works and how you can use it to dig into the details of how this can help you engage with stakeholders more effectively!
To get to the details of that hierarchy, we must dig a little deeper beyond just the inform-consult-collaborate concepts and describe how each digital communication channel and associated tool works to accomplish the intent of inform-consult-collaborate.
Let’s look at it as a pyramid system where each level of the hierarchy involves a more direct level of stakeholder engagement. The ultimate proof of the success of this pyramid system is proven in actual use, but we’ll save the details for later and just present an overview here. From the image, you can understand the context between where the stakeholder falls on the categorisation grid, the level of communication needed, and the hierarchy of digital communication methods commonly used.
Pull communication channels are those places where you frequently post-corporate and project information for the taking. In other words, the stakeholder has to take the initiative to look for it. Your only responsibility is to provide these low-interest/low-influence and borderline low-influence/high-interest stakeholders with the links to the information. A few of the more common digital channels are listed in the table.
Push Communication channels differ from pull channels in that you are addressing the information to the attention of the stakeholder. It can be done as an all stakeholders broadcast using a group email collective address from your CRM or you can target one of your four segmented groups according to your engagement grid categorisations.
The key here is not to overthink this group. Avoid addressing the stakeholders here individually and stick with the group approach to limit your investment of time. The added feature here is that the content of the communication is more focused on specific project updates/events.
Controlled Discussions are situations where you want to solicit specific input from a particular group of stakeholders. It’s a two-way communications path, but it’s not live. You are limiting the interaction to written exchanges of information over a digital medium. The frequency of these interactions is also controlled with a target of once a month encounters with a provision for special occurrences when the project needs some specific feedback.
Active Participation is where you include these stakeholders as part of your team using your task management system for the most part. They are a registered resource for the project and can be seen in the list of available resources when choosing to whom a task will be assigned. They will have limited hours available and normally have a narrowly defined role with equally bounded responsibilities based on their skills and knowledge.
Dynamic Partnership on a continuous basis with shared accountability and responsibility for the health of the project. This group of stakeholders is your peer group. They have as much experience and in some cases more experience in specific disciplines, than you. You can delegate management of project team members to them as well as involving them in the decision-making process.