What to Do When Stakeholders Have Competing Visions

It’s not uncommon for multiple stakeholders within companies to have differing visions or even competing agendas. In this article, the authors offer strategies for how to get everyone on the same page — and what to do if the confusion persists. Sometimes a simple one-on-one is all that’s needed to clear confusion and identify a workable set of success criteria for everyone. If that doesn’t work, the person managing the conflict can take the next step and gather all the interested stakeholders to discuss the situation. If we systematically focus on getting clear about the causes of conflict and working to solve them collectively, we can often help our organizations thrive, rather than devolving into a collection of self-interested in-groups.

When multiple stakeholders in an organization have competing visions and different success criteria for completing a project, it’s almost inevitable that conflict will ensue. For instance, a company’s sales team — eager to close deals and fulfill the demand they’ve created — might push to get a new product to market fast, while the engineering team wants to slow the process down to address bugs and work through the technical debt from the last product launch.


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