Ever since the introduction of the HLS (High Level Structure) in several ISO standards, the stakeholder analysis has a more prominent role in most Management Systems. This is a good thing if you ask us. However, most companies have been able to list and somehow categorize their stakeholders, but they are having a hard time managing them. Don’t get me wrong, managing stakeholders isn’t easy and requires a lot of effort. We ourselves can do a better job on this aspect every now and then.
This is the most straightforward and easy exercise of managing stakeholders. Every company is capable of identifying their stakeholders and the impact every stakeholder has on the organization. Most analysis show a breakdown that look something like this:
- Name of stakeholder
- Impact on the organization
- Level of influence
- How to manage the stakeholder
It is not a hard science, but most of the assessments of the stakeholders hold some information like this.
After the identification of the stakeholders, they need to be managed, which is the hardest task. Every company manages their most important stakeholders with care, their customers. Yes, things go wrong here as well, but most processes in the organization are built to make customers happy. Hence, this stakeholder is managed pretty significantly. Then, the employees are well taken care of in most companies, bad actors aside. Without the employees, there is no company, so they need to be taken care of as well. Then we have the suppliers, these are well taken care of because a significant part the company depends on them, especially the critical suppliers.
In essence, most stakeholders are well informed when they are part of a process and when things are going as planned. It is when something doesn’t go according to plan that things start to break. We experience this over and over again, not just with our suppliers, but also within our company. This isn’t really a bad thing, as long as you are aware of the fact that you dropped the ball and this is where things are going wrong. When you point out that you haven’t been well informed, you see that people start to point to processes or systems. But like I mentioned before, the problem is that things didn’t go as planned, hence the missing information. Just make sure there is some kind of feedback loop in the organization to identify such situations and update the stakeholder analysis.
The stakeholder analysis is a great tool and helps lots of companies. The problem with it is that most companies only look at the situation when everything goes according to plan, which it doesn’t all the time. Make sure you have some kind of way to handle these situations as well to manage the stakeholders even better.