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Having a plan is not enough – you need to execute it. Take a look at your methodology to see how it embeds stakeholder engagement (communications, for example). Is that enough for your plan or do you need to add extra activities to your method?

Besides the plans that describe your overall strategy in engaging stakeholders, there may be many ad hoc decisions involved. When making these, soft skills such as negotiation and conflict resolution will be very useful, and it’s a good idea to invest in improving those skills in yourself and other key team members.

Unethical behaviors such as bribery are common in some countries. Don’t forget that you must behave ethically even if no one else does, and unethical behavior such as bribery is non-negotiable.

There are subtle actions that can act like bribery or be interpreted as such by the second or third parties, and as such should be avoided. This potential depends on the type of stakeholder as well; for example, it’s less sensitive if you meet with a manager from a partner company than it is when you meet a representative of a regulator. As a result, you may feel comfortable to meet the former over lunch and pay for the lunch, whereas the same setup may be borderline problematic for the latter stakeholder.

Imagine an open-source foundation: They go to different conferences and talk about their in-progress projects all the time, and use any opportunity to present it to like-minded people. On the other hand, some organizations with proprietary products and services, such as Apple, are sensitive about the confidentiality of their projects. There may be various constraints regarding the way you can interact with various stakeholders in your organization or country, and as a project manager, you should understand and respect all of them insofar as they don’t have any ethical issues.

Next: Monitor