Want to achieve clarity, alignment, and yes — even enthusiasm! — around your vision, strategy, or change effort in record time? Check out our six surefire ways to engage key decision-makers.

For an impactful outcome, you need to engage your key stakeholders. These are the people who have a vested interest in the decision-making and activities of a business, organization, or project—and the quality of your output is dependent on them participating in the process.

But taking upwards of a year for something as critical as a strategic plan loses valuable time. The world can change a lot in the span of 12 months, so it’s important to move with speed and agility.

Results in Half the Time!

What if you could achieve clarity and alignment around your vision, strategy, or change effort in half the time it would take you or another change consultancy to achieve the same task?

What if the people in your organization emerged not just in agreement but with clarity and enthusiasm for the change?

XPLANE’s methods gather and synthesize stakeholder input in robust, efficient ways because we don’t simply get input—we help you build alignment along the way.

Curtail Initiative Drag

In the past, the problem with including stakeholders in change engagements has been that inclusion has evolved into a daunting, time-consuming pursuit. Too often, strategy, vision, or change initiatives drag out as they aim to connect with and solicit input from key players.

We’ve witnessed several reasons initiatives drag on:

  • Stakeholders are brought in too late in the process, creating a need for a lot of time-consuming rework
  • The process for involving stakeholders seems cumbersome or redundant
  • The means of engaging stakeholders checks a box but doesn’t effectively gather the necessary information

In addition, we’ve all felt the “meeting creep” since March 2020.

You’re not just imagining it; the number of meetings per week has increased 153% since the start of the pandemic, according to findings from Microsoft’s Work Trend Index Annual Report.

Six Surefire Ways to Engage Stakeholders—and Accelerate Results

While we’re meeting more, we’re getting less from our time spent together. How do we gamify, reframe, and reimagine our meetings?

Here are six ways XPLANE effectively engages stakeholders to help you quickly move your objectives forward:

1. Maximize time with stakeholders

We maximize time spent with stakeholders so you’re getting the most out of both their time and your time. To do this, we establish clear expectations of what you’re trying to accomplish and design an input or engagement strategy to hone in on key information, using frameworks that guide people efficiently and effectively into and through the information that will be essential to your project. We also critically examine the breadth and depth of input needed — minimizing the need to circle back to re-solicit input and also avoiding unnecessary delays where the voice of a few can stand in for the whole.

2. Create clear agendas and next steps

Our team ensures you never end a connection without clear next steps and never begins the next connection without a clear agenda and outcomes. Consistent markers for where you’re at and where you’re headed give your team clarity that will ensure your engagement remains on the fast track.

3. Get people on the same page

We ensure that leaders and stakeholders meet on common ground. While leaders are always looking toward the next mountain to conquer, most everyone else in an organization is working on the current initiative on the current mountain. XPLANE ensures conversations are being had at the same altitude, and we use visuals like our Elevation worksheet to visually frame this for participants.

4. Hold workshops, not meetings

According to Zippia, US workers spend an average of 31 hours per month in meetings they consider unproductive. Opting for a workshop instead of a meeting can help reframe expectations for what can happen during a connection with the XPLANE team. Workshops set the stage for collaboration and accomplishment while meetings can feel disengaging.

5. Use visual tools to accelerate alignment and understanding

During workshops, we leverage our arsenal of visual tools to accelerate alignment and understanding of the challenge at hand. Why do we use visual tools? They help keep a team engaged and on track. Plus, with 65% of the population being visual learners, we’re firm believers that visuals stick around in your long-term memory far better than words alone. For example, the Empathy Map can align a team around who or what we’re designing for, while our 5 Ps Planning worksheet helps us design and structure a productive workshop within a fixed period of time.

6. Incorporate gamification to increase energy and focus

Even better than visual tools, we can gamify a workshop, which energizes and keeps attendees on task and fully engaged in the workshop. We frequently use tools like our Discovery Cards to create conversations that build organizational alignment in ways that can be very difficult otherwise. Gamifying workshops with tools like this are also highly effective when people have conflicting views on what they believe are the challenges at hand. Gamification provides a medium to tease out stakeholders’ true perspectives on challenges quickly and efficiently, moving your engagement along at a quicker pace.

Have Fun—and Get Lasting Results

XPLANE’s unique methods enable us to cut through the noise and engage the hearts and minds of diverse stakeholders to achieve fast, powerful, lasting results.

Along the way, we have fun and create meaningful experiences that leave clients better connected to their mission and to each other.

Let’s talk about your goals and possible solutions.