IT Credibility Challenge #6: Stakeholder Relationships - Page 2

May 27, 2008

Patty Azzarello

This is a very good team building exercise. Do you want to be known as the technology guru who’s, innovative, reliable, responsive, business savvy? Get very clear about this. If your team all agrees on your team brand, you have created a framework for them to deliver a consistent impression.


Build a stakeholder communication plan - Once you define who your stakeholders are and what you want them to know about you and IT, for each person or category, determine what the right communication is. You should consider the scope of what they worry about, and their personal preferred methods of communication, and make sure to reflect your “team brand” in all of your communications.


For the CEO, whatever the communication is, it shouldn't be more than one page or a 10 minute meeting. You will get credibility just by not asking for a long meeting. Perhaps an informal drop-in once per month works with your CEO. The CFO will want cost benefit information. Deliver a concise cost/benefit report once every quarter whether it is requested or not. It is also a good idea to have coffee with the CFO once a month. This is an important relationship to handle personally.


The line of business people want to know about their business. Don't give them lots of IT performance metrics. Give them a snapshot of what they most care about and buy them lunch. If you do this you will likely end up with a combination of meetings, phone calls, meals, informal personal discussions, e-mails, and concise regular reports that contain meaningful information specific to each of your audiences.


Execute your plan - Once you develop your stakeholder communication plan, treat it like any other plan—commit resources, track it and mange it. It helps to assign the creation of specific reports or general communications to people on your staff, and to get your assistant to specifically put meetings and mailing schedules in your calendar.


This will fall off the plate if it is not managed and scheduled, but you’ll find that it won’t cost a lot of time once it’s up and running and the benefits are huge.




Don’t leave your credibility to chance. Decide what you want to be known for, and then develop a communication plan to build strong relationships with the specific stakeholders in your world. This is one of the most critical and impactful things you can do to steadily build your credibility and your base of support.


For further reading on the CIO credibility topic, please see Patty's other articles in this series:


How to Overcome IT’s Credibility Challenges


IT Credibility Challenge #1: Understanding


IT Credibility Challenge #2: Inconsistent View of IT's Performance


IT Credibility Challenge #3: Costs and Benefits Transparency


IT Credibility Challenge #4: Stop Thinking of Your Helpdesk as a Helpdesk


IT Credibility Challenge #5: Your Budget



If you are interested more information and templates to build your Stakeholder Communication plan you can get Patty Azzarello’s CIO Working Guide


Patty Azzarello became the youngest general manager at HP ever at the age of 33. She ran a $1B software IT management business at the age of 35 and was a CEO for the first time at the age of 38. She has been working with CIO’s for many years. Patty is the CEO of Azzarello Group which works with companies to develop and motivate their leaders and with individuals to create success in their business and career.



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