For them or for us

Stakeholder update meetings are necessary in any project. If you’re running an event for a school, the administration would love to understand what you are up to. In companies, it is a mix of senior management, steering committees and clients.

One way to approach these meetings is for teams to take the “for them” approach. The default reasoning here is that these update meetings are for senior management/clients to see what we’re doing, poke holes, demand better results, and perhaps even put more work on our plates.

The “for us” approach deals with the same reality with a different lens. The reason for stakeholder meetings in the “for us” approach is for the team to reflect, take stock and learn. We do this by sharing our progress so far with senior management/clients, discuss roadblocks and look for opportunities to course correct as necessary. We aren’t doing this meeting “for them.” We’re doing it because we care about our work and it is wonderful to have them as we can learn from their experiences. Yes, they can be painful. But, that’s part of the learning process.

The former is normally used. The latter inspires better work.

As always, we choose.