Making, tracking and keeping commitments is recognized as one of the most important aspects of stakeholder relationship management.
But it is also one of the most difficult responsibilities to track and adjust over the lifespan of a complex initiative. In addition, commitments are often legally enforceable within the scope of a project and are a pivotal factor that can make or break its success.
Building trust when working on a complex, multi-stakeholder initiative is hard work – and that equity erodes quickly when a promise is broken.
Types of stakeholder commitments
A commitment is a promise made to people directly or indirectly affected by your project. It involves an organization agreeing to do or not to do something important to stakeholders.
Commitments can be:
- Related to regulatory or environmental compliance.
- Single tasks such as building a fence, or a recurring action such as testing well water on a set schedule over a period of time.
- Promises attached to assets i.e. a pipeline on a farm.
- Linked to geographical areas of cultural significance.
- Multi-stepped in nature, that must be tracked prior to being completed.
How are commitments broken?
Despite best intentions important commitments can be overlooked, particularly in an atmosphere of constant change. Promises are broken when:
- Commitments are lost due to people coming and going on a project.
- They are not recorded properly – commitments can fall through the cracks between different departments.
- They are not centralized and are not easily accessible to everyone involved in a project.
- Team members or project consultants may not know what commitments have been made in the past.
- Stakeholder representatives change over time, and their records are not well kept.
In the end, when commitments are broken an organization’s reputation can suffer, and projects have a much higher likelihood of getting delayed or cancelled.
Using technology to keep commitments and achieve success
Dedicated stakeholder management solutions like StakeTracker help organizations stay on track with their commitments by centrally managing all communications regarding the impact their initiatives have on the communities in which they operate.
In addition to easing the burden and risk associated with manual tracking commitments, StakeTracker records stakeholder issues, interests, and concerns as well as manages the assignment of tasks and generation of project reports that help organizations demonstrate commitments have been met.
StakeTracker also ensures that all communications related to a commitment are archived. As a result, there is a consistent, historic digital record of what has transpired regarding promises to stakeholders even if team members or stakeholder representatives change over time.
Effective management of commitments is a strategic necessity.
To create trust, demonstrate transparency, and achieve the best results, organizations must make solid commitments that are achievable, communicate and update all groups affected over time, track communications, keep good records, and most importantly, keep promises made to stakeholders.