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What Do You Do When a Stakeholder Is Not Honest?

Ever have a moment when you know someone just lied to you? The emotions are pretty typical: anger, frustration, confusion — but what about getting down to the root of the lie? As Jean Scheid writes in this article, there are dozens of reasons that people lie, especially in business. How can you determine the reasons a stakeholder, for instance, chooses to not be honest? Scheid writes this article with a few reasons stakeholders and suppliers may not be as honest as possible, and ways to keep them on the straight and narrow as much as possible. He writes about one particular reason (fear of reprisal), which makes perfect sense for those of us who have been in the business for a while. Fear of taking the blame for a missed process step can hurt the ego, and when people get emotional they do things that might not seem best for themselves or for a business relationship: What if during a phase of the project, a team member following the risk management plan to the letter misses a pre-identified risk and instead of contacting his team leader or you as the project manager, much like a child who doesn't want a mother's touch on a boo-boo, he hopes the risk will work itself out or go away. He's only doing this because he fears you as a boss and knows if he is caught not doing his job, his very job could be at risk. If this happens to you, you need to sit down with the team member and remind them everyone is guilty of oversights and make an action plan on how to keep risks in check. Outside of personal reasons, stakeholder will also lie about the money they have for projects, team members who make processes like change requests a nightmare to complete, and those who are dishonest simply because it makes for “better business”. Figuring out the reasons behind dishonesty (and then limiting the chances or causes of that dishonesty) is a much better route than simply accepting it or making personal attacks on those that are dishonest.

About Anne Grybowski

Anne is a former staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success, with a degree in Media Studies from Penn State University.

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