When it’s time to define stakeholders we hesitate and then try to find a Venn diagram or matrix to help us identify who our stakeholders are; but shouldn’t we already know who our stakeholders are?
It’s a generic word that gets thrown around a lot to shuffle all the people involved in organizations and projects, without having to think about who these groups and individuals are. Breaking down the different groups in a way that suits your company and your management styles makes all the difference between knowing you’re speaking to and why.
Stakeholders vs. Shareholders
Firstly, it is important to remember that stakeholders and shareholders are not the same thing. Often these two terms are used interchangeably to describe stakeholders, yet there is a difference between them.
Stakeholders: are individuals and/or groups who affect your organizational operations and/or who are affected by your organizational operations. They are both found internally (which includes employees, managers, and the wider workforce) as well as externally (which includes clients, communities, partners, investors, and yes; shareholders).
Shareholders: are individuals who hold a share in the company and both affects company operations and the decision making process, as well as is affected by the outcomes of organizational operations.
Holding a Stake
Being a stakeholder means you are impacted by a company’s decision making process, and are an integral part of business operations. As previously mentioned, most stakeholders involved in ongoing projects or partnerships are clients, and maintaining their confidence to ensure the collaborative process continues is a major factor in carrying out a project successfully.
Managing your groups in one place
Often, the process of stakeholder management is seen as a form of risk management; a way to mitigate any potential risks of negative influences affecting your project that may come up as a result of trying to keep all parties involved happy and meeting their expectations.
However, good stakeholder management will not only clear the path of potential obstacles, but it will actively support effective progress and improve the quality of the end results. It’s not simply a case of keeping stakeholders satisfied – it’s also about using their time, expertise and influence efficiently to help you reach your goals.
This is where having a system in place to help you manage your varying stakeholder groups and individuals makes all the difference. Setting a structure around your management approach sets the foundation of how you’re going to deal with everyone’s differing needs at different times.
Technology has come a long way to be able to offer solutions to help us guide the way to better management practices. From desktop to mobile-friendly and app compatible platforms and customizable interfaces, managing your workforce can be as easy as you set it up to be.
Having a digital thumb gives you the flexibility to evolve from traditional methods of dealing with clients, and keeping your employees engaged. It also enables you to manage everything you need stakeholder-related in one place, without having to divert your attention to another system and juggle all those multiple logins.
To ensure good stakeholder relations, you have to view your stakeholders as inclusively part of the team, establish the common goal that you want to achieve, and work towards being on the same page throughout the project.
Working with others in a collaborative manner can lead to implementing new ideas and achieving more than you would be able to on your own. Engagement is key when collaborating to deliver a project, and asking the right questions to gain insights and useful information is essential.
It’s important to identify what you want to achieve and make sure you stay on track; you wouldn’t want to find out later that everyone had a different idea of what was actually happening. This involves the proactive mindset of planning ahead and encouraging to approach stakeholder relations as a measured aspect of the project management.
Information sourced from Kahootz
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