In a Crisis mode, Project leaders of Engagement and Communications teams need to be PREDICTIVE and PROACTIVE in their decision making to preserve the relationships of their stakeholders and build team resilience to be able to handle this crisis.
Take steps to not only REACT but also RESHAPE.
1. Prioritise both your teams and your stakeholder’s safety whilst continuously engaging
Your team and stakeholders are looking to you as a community leader for guidance.
• Address their concerns in a transparent manner to reassure them.
• Initiate new working arrangements for your team and new stakeholders’ communications that do not rely on the traditional face to face and move into digital.
• Produce regular communications that are in sync with the government and health authorities’ policies
• Acknowledge the ‘new normal’ and reorganise and reallocate resources as there will be disruptions, labour shortages, and increased costs due to mobility restrictions.
2. Reshape your budget for the new engagement strategy
Most project teams will experience disruption and reduction in budgets if not now but also in the future as both government and private cash flow are strained.
• Bin the old budget and start a new budget. Instil short term changes and maintain strict discipline on your working capital.
• Monitor suppliers and partners to understand the pressures they may be enduring. Stress test any tier one suppliers and consider alternative suppliers as a backup.
• Stress test financial plans and create multiple scenarios and understand the stages they can continue. Former business plans and budget assumptions are no longer relevant.
• Where teams are impacted extremely, consider the ‘new normal’ minimum operating requirements including workforce, vendors, location, and technology – consider cutting non-essential costs.
3. Communicate openly and transparently with stakeholders
• Conduct a data-driven assessment of your stakeholders and build a great stakeholder database and map.
• Tune in to how you deliver value to stakeholders. Call your stakeholders and understand what they are going through and think of how you can help deliver value in their lives. Don’t be part of the noise.
• Seize the moment to build relationships with strategic stakeholders that have maybe challenged to get into or interface stakeholders that you would love to bring into the fold for the future. Don’t waste a crisis.
• Contact stakeholders to demonstrate strength, partnership, and availability both now and the future. Open that trust and communication.
• Identify key priority offers; tune in to them with value and empathy
• Reset customer expectations as needed – positive and realistic NOT positive and negative
• Be clear, a transparent, and timely in your communications to secure trust and support from all levels of stakeholders, community, customers, employees, suppliers, investors, and government authorities.
• Shift from in-person to digital. Use off the shelf technologies that are acceptable and available. Make it easier for them so they can participate.
• Increase virtual 1:1 coaching with your team and stakeholder planning sessions
• Reassess the team mix you need and what great looks like to win this crisis
• Fill the talent gaps with external players – Struber can help with that. We have fantastic IAP2 certified virtual team that is experienced in these areas
• Train frontline staff in new behaviours and new technologies
• Once new budgets, strategies and new directions have been laid out to stakeholders you’ll need to adapt, monitor and reassess
• The obstacle which is the crisis is the plan. It’s an opportunity to pivot to new areas within stakeholder engagement
• Teams that are transparent with their stakeholders will have deeper relationships when there is a need to react and pivot.