20 years ago, stakeholder management and shareholder/owner management were almost synonymous. In the intervening period, much has changed.
Most enlightened thinkers now place stakeholder management at the centre of effective business operations. The business needs to support, empower and satisfy the people working within the organisation, the general public and customers (now classes as Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR) and the owners of the business. All of these people are stakeholders.
Since the passing of the Sarbanes Oxley Act, organisational governance has become an important focus. For all types of organisation this is directly linked to governing the work of the people engaged in the work of the business; ie, stakeholders.
Since the GFC effective risk management has also become of increasing concern. Risk management is not the foolish attempt to avoid all risk – this is impossible, rather the effective management of risk within the risk tolerance thresholds of key stakeholders including the organisations owners and managers; ie, stakeholders.
As summarised by the diagram above, business operations are intrinsically linked to, and require, effective governance, to meet the expectation of the organisations owners, within acceptable risk parameters to deliver value to society and the organisations clients or customers.
However, whilst stakeholder management is central to all of these processes, effective stakeholder management requires the allocation of scarce management resources to focus on the relationships between the work and the most important stakeholders. At the most fundamental level, the purpose of the Stakeholder Circle® methodology is understand ‘who’s who, and who’s important’ in the stakeholder community surrounding your work.
Once you understand this the effective management of stakeholders becomes possible. However, without the clarity of insight created by the careful analysis of the stakeholder community to determine who is really important the potential for wasted effort is enormous. As with most planning process, the payback from effort expended in analysis, is the reduced incidence of issues and problems as the work proceeds.
Can you afford not to focus some effort on effective stakeholder management?