No doubt about it, many of us will have faced and will continue to face treacherous commutes this February due to the Transport for London Tube strikes. Whilst I was packed like a sardine on a replacement bus, much too close for comfort to the person next to me, I wondered whether this situation, the strike action that is, could have been prevented?
For weeks, the papers have been splashed with “Mayor Boris said this” and “Bob Crow said that” but I think Ed Miliband hits the nail on the head saying, "It is deeply regrettable that there doesn't seem to have been any negotiation or any meetings with the Mayor of London and Tfl". Had this have happened, many of us could have avoided being late to work, unable to attend meetings and generally feeling as though we had already done a day’s work before even getting to our desks.
People often underestimate the importance of good negotiation and communication skills, but in the Change Management space this is an invaluable tool to have. It is becoming increasingly common at role briefings for hiring managers to stipulate the need for their preferred candidates to have top rate stakeholder management skills, particularly on large scale projects where stakeholders are at various levels and from wide ranging areas. Conflicts, differences in opinions and clashes of personality are all usual occurences in the change environment. Therefore having the ability to effectively manage, address and resolve these issues is crucial to the success of a project. Being able to manage expectation, initiate negotiation and facilitate compromise will help projects to be delivered on time and run as smoothly as possible.
So next time you are preparing for an interview, think about how you approach these situations and also how you deal with difficult stakeholders. Make sure you prepare examples of how you have overcome problematic stakeholders and what impact this had on the overall project.
Sure, it may be too late for Boris and Bob but it’s not too late for the rest of us to salvage some positivity from this inconvenient situation. Remember, negotiation is key!