An underlying assumption is that sustainable excellence requires the creation of value for ALL key stakeholders. In other words, designing an organization that creates “Win-Win” for all stakeholders vs. taking from one to serve another. The good news is a zero-sum game of trade-offs is not needed to create value for multiple stakeholders. High performing organizations take a systems approach to design that focuses on developing a workforce that creates and delivers great products and services that result in satisfied customers who buy more (repeat business) and tell their friends (referral business) which improves the top line making the investors happy. Also, systems thinking enables designs that create value for other key stakeholders such as suppliers and partners, society and the environment.
There are six key stakeholder groups. For any given organization these can be segmented into sub-categories with different needs, wants, and desires.
Depending on the type of organization the customers might be paying recipients of products and services, primary beneficiaries of non-profit or government services, patients, or students.
Depending on the type of organization, the workforce stakeholders could be employees, volunteers, contractors, or partners.
Suppliers and Partners
Inputs to the organization are provided from a variety of external organizations from component product suppliers to service providers to partners that share both risk and reward.
For-profit investors provide capital and expect a monetary return on their investment. Non-profit investors (a.k.a. donors) provide capital and expect the most benefit to the primary beneficiaries of the non-profit services. Government investors (a.k.a. taxpayers) provide capital and expect the best government services for the least amount of tax burden.
The public and local communities in which the organization operates are stakeholders in many aspects of organization operations.
Finally, the environment and future generations find a voice in the other five stakeholders and public policy and regulation.
The focus on stakeholder needs and relationships helps provide a common alignment point for strategy, execution, and learning and innovation. Also, a systems perspective combined with design thinking provide the basis for organization designs that create value for multiple stakeholders.
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