Managing For Stakeholders

Imagine an environment where the goal of every business is to create “win-win” situations with everyone it touches in the community. Why not? Many of those people have a stake in not only your success but the success of the community. That is the concept behind “Managing For Stakeholders”. Your stakeholders are all around you. They are your stockholders or owners, your customers, vendors, employees, the local government and the neighboring businesses. If you are a hotelier, they are counting on your guests to visit their businesses while staying at the hotel. Your success is their success!

Next time you have a major decision to make, take the time to consider how all of those stakeholders would respond to that decision if you were to consult them. Are your rates structured so that your guests believe they got good value, or are they high because you’re the only game in town and it’s a busy weekend? Do your vendors love doing business with you, or have you driven them down on price so much that there isn’t anything left for them? Are your owners or stockholders just pleased with the profits or are they proud to own a piece of the business? Are you paying your core staff a living wage and providing some competitive benefits, even though your competitors are not? Similarly, is the local government pleased with the tax revenue, or are they excited to call your business part of the fabric of the community?

I’m not suggesting that you should consult all of the stakeholders every time you set rates, make an offer to a vendor or decide on a marketing campaign. What I am suggesting is that you consider the impact on each and every one of them, with both a short and a long term viewpoint. Think about it this way. If the rate on the busiest weekend of the year is still a good value, maybe that same guest will think of you next time, when it isn’t the busiest weekend of the year. Maybe that vendor will be more inclined to go open up his warehouse to get you supplies on a cold winter night when you run out. And, maybe, just maybe those core employees that you count on to be there when you need them and make you successful will kick it up a notch and make you not only successful, but the best in your community and proud of your business. That is what “managing for stakeholders” is all about!