What to Do When Project Stakeholders Aren’t on the Same Page…

When project stakeholders have competing visions, confusion—and even conflict—can ensue. If you’re leading a big project that feels misaligned, here’s what you can do to ensure that everyone has the same success criteria and is working toward a clear, common goal.

Uncover the root of the misalignment. Is there a lack of clarity about the organization’s big-picture goals? Are there disagreements about how to allocate resources? Or is there poor communication happening at the employee level? Meet with your stakeholders individually to identify what’s getting in the way of a collective vision.

Get everyone on the same page. Gather all the interested stakeholders, virtually or in person, to discuss the situation with the express goal of finding common ground. You’re here to build a shared agreement about what success looks like.

Know when to let go. Despite your best efforts, it’s not always possible to get everyone on the same page; sometimes people will continue to pursue their own personal agendas. If the issue is minor, the most productive solution may be to ignore it and move on. If it’s major, escalate the issue to find a workaround—or intervene with the problematic stakeholder.

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