Management Bug: Lack of Stakeholders Buy-in

A MngtBug is a problem, cause or impact in a human manager’s decision which produces an incorrect or unexpected result. Every other week we share a little bit of our knowledge base on social media and our newsletter. This week’s MngtBug is…

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This week’s “Lack of Stakeholders Buy-in” is one of the most ignored problems in project management.

By definition, Stakeholders are the customers, employees, board members, owners, and interested community members who shape the working of an organization. These stakeholders may support or oppose the decisions made by the business’ managers. Stakeholder buy-in is the process of involving these people in the decision-making process in hopes of reaching a broader consensus on the organization’s future.

A key component of stakeholder buy-in is engagement. The idea behind engagement is open communication between all levels of stakeholders within and outside an organization. The manager should clearly communicate plans for the business’ future to employees, customers, and other affected parties. Engagement is also about getting feedback on proposed plans and listening to suggestions for improvement from stakeholders. Engagement recognizes that the best business ideas may come from outside the organization. A customer may have thoughts about how to market new products, an employee may have valuable feedback on a new salary schedule and a community member may suggest new ways to engage with locals. These communications between the business and its stakeholders are engaging ways to opt for buy-in from those directly affected by the organization’s strategies and plans.

Stakeholder buy-in can be beneficial for organizations of all sizes, but particularly for small businesses eager for new ideas. It provides opportunities to engage with new opinions and ideas that may not be readily apparent in the organization’s structure. It can help align the business’ strategies with the wants and needs of its customers. This helps drive long-term growth and profitability.

Despite the numerous benefits of stakeholder buy-in, it sometimes can be difficult to involve stakeholders. Agreeing on rules of engagement can be a useful first step in securing buy-in. This lays out the roles and responsibilities of all parties and, ideally, makes it clear to external stakeholders that their voices will be heard and their opinions are taken seriously. Building this trust is essential for buy-in. The business can play a large part in helping stakeholders feel engaged by directly involving them in the management process. Employees, for example, can be asked to vote on an important new human resources initiative, and customers can be surveyed on a new price point for a product. (Extracted from

The concept of Stakeholders Buy-in ranges from Project Management to Change Management. But the strategies are always the same: awareness, involvement, and respect.

Known Associates

This MngtBug has been mentioned in relation to a number of MngtFixes such as…

“Project Scope Definition and Communication”,
“Stakeholders Identification”,
“Regular Teams Implementation”,
“Customer Needs Elicitation”,
“Problem Solving Workshop(s)”,
and of course “Stakeholders Buy-In Initiatives”!

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Have a nice week and remember…
Human Managers should strive to be humans while managing and be managed as humans!

Eduardo Espinheira is a Consultant, Facilitator, Manager, Public Speaker, Creator of the Management Bugs&Fixes and the Machiavellian PM Stories