There you were during the pre-project planning, identifying costs and time-scales manpower requirements and scheduling activities that would lead to the successful and timely completion of the project. Sure, there were some conflicts and some areas of discomfort while scenario planning, forecasting identifying risks.
Somebody asked about an engagement strategy as a guide to working with a variety of stakeholders and at the time it wasn’t considered a priority, the public consultation and disclosure plan was enough, the conversation moved on quickly, but with hindsight in a culture that was quite alien you wish you had invested in building relationships. Finally the project plan was produced; there was a lot of back slapping as you all celebrated your efforts.
Perhaps you should have encouraged a little framestorming – asked some considered questions to frame the challenge at hand before dismissing it as unimportant
Stakeholder Engagement Strategy with Hindsight
Your risk assessment is comprehensive and obviously doesn’t cover every eventuality. You expect delays and unexpected events at this dynamic stage of the project. Despite following guidelines it may be that risks associated with poor stakeholder relations were understated now faced with many conflicts, delays, and misunderstanding you realise that the procedure to support stakeholder engagement should be inclusive and continuous.
Your approach doesn’t seem to be working. People, the government, the communities, suppliers, employees have raised expectations and rumors and misunderstandings about the company’s intentions are beginning to circulate. People are demonstrating heightened states of a range of emotions. You simply haven’t built sufficient relationship capital with these groups so there is a lack of trust and respect and low literacy levels place limits on methods of communication.
Community relations staff actively visit and consult with communities and several unofficial parties seem to have become involved in liaising with communities, farmers, landowners and other stakeholders affected by the business of your company compensation is being discussed by those not authorized to have those conversations and grievances are coming at you from many directions.