3 EXAMPLES OF WHAT CAN GO WRONG WHEN IMPROPERLY MANAGING STAKEHOLDER DATA

My name is Chad Ford and I am the President of Sunexo Solutions. For the past decade I have been working with organization of all sizes in various industries to help them better manage their stakeholder data. From founding the first dedicated Stakeholder Information Management team in Canada to co-creating the industry leading stakeholder management software IRIS, which is used across North America, I have seen various instances where inadequately managing stakeholder data can have severe impacts on a project’s success. Here are three real examples that I have seen where this has occurred and the key takeaway I identified from each example.

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Key takeaway

"make sure you properly understand the different roles your stakeholders have related to your project."

1. The Fire Chief did not say that! Technically speaking…
I was working with an energy company who had met with various stakeholders during an open house for a project. One of the people that they were happy to talk to was the local Fire Chief who said he was looking forward to the project work starting because he also owned a local contracting company. The proponent’s representative dutifully noted this, and it was presented as one of the engagements in the regulatory report which was later submitted. 

A couple of weeks later, that same Fire Chief, blisteringly angry, phoned the head of stakeholder engagement for that company. This project was controversial in his community and as a public official he had received various angry phone calls from locals that they saw him as putting a governmental department as supporting this project. Rather, he felt that he was speaking as a local contractor- not the fire chief when he spoke to the proponent. This damaged the proppant’s relationship with the Fire Chief going forward.

Key takeaway: make sure you properly understand the different roles your stakeholders have related to your project.

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key takeaway

"Following up with stakeholder questions on a timely manner is important to maintain their trust."

2. We got back to that municipality? Right?!
One company signed up for IRIS after they had forgotten to get back to all the municipalities their projects were impacting. They were a renewable energy company which had multiple projects impacting multiple municipalities. As such, they had planned a series of meetings with local councils. During these meetings various councils asked questions that the company promised to follow up with. Various projects with various team members working on them with various stakeholders can often provide a high level of complexity that quickly supersedes the best intentioned spread sheets. Sure enough, in this case, two municipalities were not followed up with. The absence in response was filled by an advocacy group opposed to the type of energy projects being proposed. This resulted in a one-year delay for the project as the local municipalities strongly challenged the project at the regulatory level.

Key takeaway: following up with stakeholder questions on a timely manner is important to maintain their trust.

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key takeaway

"Have a data management system in place to ensure once data is submitted it is frozen from subsequent changes."

3. Everything looks good…except you have changed your story.
An early adapter of IRIS was conducting a major regulatory application for an oil sand mine. The regulator required that every two months they present a report outlining all the activities they had conducted with First Nations. At the end of the multi-year regulatory application the company submitted a report which included all these activities. Within a few weeks they had a meeting with the regulator. Their engagement looked more than adequate- however, the final report did not match with their previously submitted bi-monthly reports! After a frantic analysis we identified that the issue was that after the bi-monthly reports were submitted, different team members would login to the system and make changes to entries around activities they had been a part of. They were unaware that the data had already been submitted!

Key takeaway: have a data management system in place to ensure once data is submitted it is frozen from subsequent changes.

Summary
Stakeholder management is an important part of successful stakeholder engagement work. Failures in proper data management can lead to a loss of trust with stakeholders and regulatory uncertainty. Ensuring team members understand the different roles the stakeholders they are engaging with have, following up in a timely manner and having a data management system in place can minimize these risks.


Have you experienced similar challenges?

IRIS has been designed to address these exact challenges- and many more. IRIS is a cloud-based software for managing stakeholders.

The IRIS free trial does not require a credit card. There is no time limit once you get started, take as long as you want to perform up to 50 actions. You can add an unlimited number of users and projects to IRIS at any time.

 
 
Kyle Peters