Like any good project manager, it’s easy to quickly assign a project objectives, milestones, and then dole out tasks accordingly. However, taking a participatory approach it’s important to remember that stakeholders are going to be the ones guiding the process.
With participatory approaches, instead of leading with outcomes and timelines, it’s important to build trust at the outset of any project.
Consider the relationship between yourself (technology partner) and the community member as a product or outcome, and this will help veer away from an outcome perspective and towards a relationship building one, in which stakeholders needs and goals feel understood.
This lens also enables a more flexible process that is adaptive to stakeholder priorities and issues that are impacting them in real time.
- Priorities can truly be informed by the community, and using that as a driver, workgroups, meetings, and initiatives can be tailored to be more reflective of the style, tone, and topics that fit community members needs.
- More engagement from community members leading to more relevant and engaging solutions.
- Empowers stakeholders to feel a sense of responsibility and ownership over the entire project.
Leading with a listening over outcomes approach helps not only build trust, but shifts the outcomes in a way that is more relevant and engaging to the stakeholders involved.