Last month I wrote an article titled 4 Simple steps to engage key stakeholders.
Effective stakeholder engagement is at the heart of executing strategy well and one of the most effective ways to engage a diverse group of stakeholders quickly is through Accelerator Workshops.
These workshops are designed as targeted, interactive and engaging activities that will rapidly align a diverse group or multi-level stakeholders. They can be used to facilitate alignment, creativity and decision making and; to generate key outputs.
Sessions can be held with smaller semi-aligned teams or larger groups that include stakeholders from across or outside of the organisation. Accelerator Workshops are very effective at the start of a major project or as a tool to engage stakeholders at any stage of a key initiative or strategy.
Levels of engagement are fluid and maintaining appropriate levels of engagement requires creativity and effort.
Our four step process includes: analysis; design; facilitation and the development of visual tools to capture and embed the shared thinking that takes place during steps one to three. The analysis and design stages are used to carefully craft activities for specific engagement outcomes and can be run in a variety of different ways.
During the analysis stage the main focus is on the stakeholder’s current levels of engagement, awareness and alignment. Tools at this stage of the process will delve into the current behaviours, issues or concerns and in establishing the desired outcomes. Questions we ask during this phase are:
- Who are the key stakeholders and how engaged are they?
- What are they currently saying, thinking, feeling or doing?
- What do we want them to be feeling, thinking, saying or doing?
- What strategies have already been used to engage them?
This stage highlights the tension areas, acceleration opportunities and creative gaps. The more traditional considerations are also documented such as the drivers for this initiative, challenges, outcomes, what needs to be agreed upon and what needs to be validated or created.
At the design stage there are a range of potential approaches that can be taken, recognising that interactive and challenging activities that connect emotionally are the most powerful ways to engage.
The design phase usually includes the development of multi-media and other visually appealing tools. We use a combination of technology and the more tactile ways to engage using traditional approaches.
Our facilitators are experienced at creating a trusted environment within which the teams can find ways to connect and to establish shared areas of interest, expertise or concerns.
Effective facilitation pivots off a high-trust and safe environment and our facilitators are able to maintain rapport with a range of stakeholders, whilst managing the pace of the activity and achieving the outcomes set.
Strong participation and effective listening fosters critical thinking, removes blockages and stimulates creative thinking, to create solutions and to consider possible futures.
The use of visual tools during the facilitated session is one of the critical success factors in achieving alignment and engagement.
Having highly skilled individuals come together in this format creates unique opportunities to develop new ideas through shared thinking. Providing the visual tools to the teams after the facilitated event is essential to maintaining alignment and clarity on issues, objectives and outcomes.
Effective stakeholder engagement is an on-going challenge and opportunity for all organisations and doing it well ensures teams perform well.
New ways to do this quickly and effectively can help organisations accelerate their strategic objectives.
If you would like more information on our Acceleration Workshops please email Leon Gray at Leon.Gray@Janellis.com.au