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How do you ensure alignment when you have two senior executive stakeholders who disagree with each other on the proposed strategy and you are stuck in the middle?

4 Answers
Jessica Gilmartin
Jessica Gilmartin
Calendly Chief Marketing OfficerAugust 18

This is a tricky one! First, you should assume that both stakeholders have good intent and that they’re willing to work together to resolve the issue. It’s critical to go in with a positive mindset! Then, try to create a shared fact base so that you’re all working from the same data. Once you have a shared understanding of the facts, then you can begin to build shared goals. Ask lots of questions to find shared goals between the stakeholders, and help them work towards a compromise that meets both of their goals (or at least as many of their goals as possible!)

2652 Views
Erika Barbosa
Erika Barbosa
Counterpart Marketing LeadFebruary 22

This is tough to navigate but doable. I recommend that you actively listen to both sides. Try to meet them where they are at. To do so, you’ll need to empathetically listen to their perspectives. Identify a common ground for the executive stakeholders backed by data. It’s harder to argue against facts. Let the data help navigate the discussion and bring you to a compromise.

I also recommend that you assume good intentions. Keep stakeholders focused on the bigger picture and its associated business goals. This will only be possible with clear communication and healthy debate.

415 Views
Erika Barbosa
Erika Barbosa
Counterpart Marketing LeadJune 1

This is tough to navigate but doable. I recommend that you actively listen to both sides. Try to meet them where they are at. To do so, you’ll need to empathetically listen to their perspectives. Identify a common ground for the executive stakeholders backed by data. It’s harder to argue against facts. Let the data help navigate the discussion and bring you to a compromise.

I also recommend that you assume good intentions. Keep stakeholders focused on the bigger picture and its associated business goals. This will only be possible with clear communication and healthy debate.

356 Views
Micha Hershman
Micha Hershman
JumpCloud Chief Marketing OfficerDecember 19

Another great question, one of the most sensitive and difficult! Handling a situation where two senior executive stakeholders disagree can be challenging, but it's critical that you develop the skills to navigate these moments diplomatically to ensure alignment and build your own reputation as a bridge-builder. Some thoughts:

  1. Listen actively:

    • Seek to understand the perspectives of both stakeholders. Listen to their concerns, goals, and expectations carefully. Ensuring that they feel heard and respected is your first and foremost goal.

  2. Search out common ground:

    • Identify areas of agreement or shared goals. This can be a foundation for building a unified strategy and serve the broader objectives of the company.

  3. Take a data-informed approach:

    • Gather and look at supporting data wherever you can. Metrics can bridge gaps between differing opinions by providing an objective basis for decision-making.

  4. Facilitate a discussion:

    • Arrange a discussion where both executives can express their views openly. Facilitate the conversation to the best of your abilities, ensuring that it remains constructive and focused on finding common ground.

  5. Clarify objectives:

    • Move quickly to establish a set of shared objectives, finding compromise where necessary, and ensuring alignment with the broader business goals. Make sure both stakeholders understand the potential impact on the company's success and see it the same way.

  6. Highlight risks and mitigations:

    • Acknowledge and address concerns raised by each party. Help them to do the same. Discuss potential risks associated with the proposed strategy and work together to develop mitigation plans to alleviate their concerns.

  7. Propose compromises:

    • Where possible, suggest compromises that incorporate elements from both perspectives. This will go a long way to demonstrating flexibility and a willingness to find solutions that benefit the organization as a whole.

  8. Align with higher-level goals:

    • Remind both stakeholders of the higher-level goals of the company and how the proposed marketing strategy contributes to achieving those goals. Reinforce the importance of unity in decision-making and the downsides of divided leadership.

  9. Document agreements and decisions:

    • It's critical to ensure that any agreements or decisions resulting from discussions are documented and shared with both stakeholders. This will help maintain clarity and drive accountability moving forward.

  10. Iterate and adapt:

    • Be open to iterating on the proposed strategy based on feedback and changing circumstances. Flexibility can be key in navigating complex situations.

Want more? I recommend this excellent, short article from HBR on handling emotionally charged negotiations: https://hbr.org/2023/12/how-to-handle-an-emotionally-charged-negotiation?tpcc=orgsocial_edit&utm_campaign=hbr&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin

456 Views
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