Stakeholder engagement

“Without our customers, we would be nothing”.

Mmm. More efficient, perhaps?

Customers make everything possible… and difficult, all at the same time. Meeting their needs means understanding their needs. And to do this you need to communicate with them.

Importantly, there is a mix in this communication.

You can listen and act. This is a wonderfully purist view of giving the customer what they want.

Or you can tell them what they can have (any colour, so long as it is black).

While you can probably think of businesses and government bodies at each end of the scale, most genuinely aim to do both.

Everything that is true for customers goes also for ‘other stakeholders’, whoever they may be. Industry suppliers? Regulators? Interest groups? The CEO or Minister even? If they have an interest in what we do and how (and how well) we do it, they’re valid stakeholders.

Often, our consulting assignments are less about the ‘issue’ and more about the stakeholders.

What do we need to find out from them? What message do we want to convey to them? Can we ensure that we are genuinely consulting, and be seen to be doing so?

This page used up my week’s supply of question marks, but it is appropriate because stakeholder management and consultation is not about rolling out ready answers.

Our skill, we believe, is based on working out what the stakeholder contact is to deliver, carefully planning the best intervention and then doing it by getting the pure juice without the froth and bubble.