Thanks for taking time to read my blog on relationship building with stakeholders! My name is Cori Beskow. I manage the team here at ARC Evaluation and instruct PSYC 722A: Stakeholders, Roles, and Responsibilities within the Evaluation Studies program at UW-Stout.
PSYC 722A is a .4 credit online module focused on understanding the players at the table in an evaluation project, including their individual roles and responsibilities. One of the learning objectives of this module is to develop, maintain, and foster stakeholder relationships.
This learning objective aligns with competency 3.4 of the Professional Practice domain: Identifies and engages diverse users/stakeholders throughout the evaluation process.
I see so many people who undervalue the importance of building relationships. It’s a soft skill, but one that many people don’t want to bother with or make time for. Building a positive relationship early on with all stakeholders involved in an evaluation is essential to a successful outcome. A strong relationship aids in constructive discussions regarding expectations, goals, and objectives. When all stakeholders are on the same page, and understand they share the same desired outcomes, there is a level of trust that exists. This trust will foster teamwork through any unforeseen issues and ensure the project moves forward based on consensus agreement.
On the flip side, losing that trust or not building a relationship early on, can cause havoc during your project. Take the time. Build the relationships. Once the relationships are established, it is critical to maintain and manage that relationship and the trust through the end of the project, and beyond.
What approach do your take to stakeholder relationships? What KSA’s do you possess that help you build and maintain positive relationships? We’re gathering data on EvalKSA’s, share your responses to these questions with us!
Do you need additional training or professional development around Stakeholder relationships? Our online training modules in evaluation are available to start any time. They are self-paced and typically take between 9-12 hours. Sign up today!
This blog post is part of a series that explores the relationship between the proposed American Evaluation Association competencies for evaluators and how they align with KSA’s needed to embody them in our work.