Understanding your key stakeholders and how to work with them effectively
Making time to nurture positive internal and external stakeholder relationships
Developing authentic personal contacts with stakeholders
The importance of stakeholders
Ensuring the support of key stakeholders is an important step in the successful launch of new technical projects and initiatives says, Carlos Antón, Hong Kong FA Technical Director.
"The part of the role that I could have been more aware of, or put a greater emphasis on, at the beginning was the part of managing the stakeholders and dealing with our partners," explains Antón, who was appointed as Technical Director in Hong Kong in 2022.
"Previously when I was a coach, you tend to be creating a plan and putting processes in place, in this role I learned the power and importance of consultation processes. Here in Hong Kong, we are really tax-orientated and you might start developing plans, but if you don't get to the stakeholders to get the support for the idea it goes nowhere."
Antón, who oversees national teams, elite youth development, coach education, sports sciences, grassroots, futsal and club licensing, says he is trying to free up time in his schedule to focus more effort on the important work of developing effective stakeholder relationships.
"I am trying to switch my emphasis to this," he says. "But because of the constraints we have in terms of staffing it doesn't give me many gaps. Just to manage the daily demands that come up from these areas is already a full-time job without making any new initiatives.
"I'm trying to change a little bit the structure of the department, in order to release myself from duties in order to have a bit more impact in this area."
Antón explains his role is more like an operations manager and sees his key contribution as "synchronising" the work of the many areas he is responsible for.
"The role is a bit more like an operations manager and making the team work together. Before it felt like some kind of isolated divisions and they were not as synchronised. Instead, there are a lot of synergies that can happen working together and that's going quite well. I'm just trying to optimise what we have and develop new initiatives to fill in the gaps."
People want to know that you care
Antón, who has extensive experience in elite coaching in both Spain and England, believes effective stakeholder management comes from developing stronger personal relationships.
"I believe it is about building stronger personal relationships and this requires time. Therefore, I need to put more time into it.
"I think all that anyone wants to know is that you care about them," he adds. "Everyone wants time, to be listened to and wants to know that you care about them. I think in the beginning you develop these through casual contacts and then from there you start going into more depth."
Understand who your key stakeholders are and how they work
Make time to nurture positive internal and external stakeholder relationships
Develop authentic personal contacts with stakeholders and let them know that you care
How would you describe your relationship with your key stakeholders?
What do you need to do to maintain or improve these relationships?
How much time do you afford to stakeholder relationships? Is this planned or ad-hoc?