Stakeholders: Engaged

One idea that is ubiquitous in modern management studies is the need for stakeholder engagement. This applies, for example, in day-to-day operations when a manager or team lead has the option to consult their team prior to making decisions. For a leader to include their team in the decision-making process will ensure that any diverse thoughts on important matters come to surface, allowing the leader to select the best course of action.

It is also important for a whole organization or company to consider how they fit into the bigger social system in which they work and how they can engage their stakeholders. I did a case study early in my doctoral studies in which I interviewed a chapter president of Conscious Capitalism and analyzed his thoughts through the lens of Spiritual Leadership theory.

Both of these systems of thought (Conscious Capitalism and Spiritual Leadership) promote the idea of businesses and organizations working toward the triple bottom line: people, planet, profit. In most business contexts, we can think of “planet” as the cultural and social environment in which the company operates. So, by “people” we mean the people who work within the company and by “planet” we will often mean the people who will be affected by the company’s operations. Through stakeholder engagement, companies can ensure that their business operations will not inadvertently cause harm, which does happen sometimes when companies only exercise a profit motive.

There are many studies that show a conscious business approach can also be correlated with increased profits and employee engagement. So, it’s good for business for a company to conscious.

But, here’s the real payoff. If you ask your stakeholders for input, whether you’re a manager looking for assistance with a decision or a business leader making sure you are serving your community in the best way possible, your stakeholders don’t actually have to have good answers for you to be successful.

If a manager asks her direct reports for inputs, even if the employees don’t have much to say, they will still appreciate that the manager asked and that, over time, will build trust, organizational cohesion, and employee engagement. Likewise, even if people don’t have many inputs for the business leader, the community will appreciate that the company cares enough to ask and that will be good for business, too.

Bringing it all back to personal development, let’s consider that you’re about to undertake a change initiative. You are committed to doing it right so you’ve consulted some personal change management literature, maybe you’ve read the blog at Salient Moves, and you might even be working with a coach to make sure you are squared away and on track.

You also want to include your family members and possibly some close friends. In the same way that I mentioned before, your friends and family may be able to help you on your journey, but even if they can’t, including them in your process will likely lead to stronger relationships. And hey, if you can do your change the right way and be successful, why not also improve your most important relationships while you’re at it?

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