26Dec2012

Delighted Stakeholders

Any business can only sustain if its stakeholders are satisfied and can flourish if its stakeholders are delighted. Stakeholders for any Business are Customers, Management (Shareholders), Employees, Business Partners and Society.

The key to delight is to meet the invisible but intrinsically desired needs over and above meeting the visible needs which are like hygiene factors if not met will lead to dissatisfaction. It is also very interesting to note that over time many invisible needs become visible needs. Excellence is all about sustainably meeting the visible needs as well as sustainable identifying and fulfilling the invisible needs of the stakeholders. The first step therefore is to regularly review the visible and invisible needs of all the stakeholders. I have listed some visible and invisible needs of the various stakeholders to get an idea of this concept of visible and invisible needs.

Customers consume the products and services that any business creates. Visible needs could be on time delivery, defect free products and services, etc. Invisible needs could be an added functionality like the intuitive operating systems of smart phones or forward integration of some sub-assemblies, etc.

Management (Shareholders) promote the business. Visible needs could be smooth running of operations, accurate and timely reporting, achievement of planned top and bottom line, etc. Invisible needs could be significant increases in top and bottom line, unexpected awards and recognitions, etc.

Employees are the most important asset of any business; the resource that runs the business. We can analogically compare all the cells in our body to employees. Visible needs could be status, remuneration, fairness, etc. Invisible needs could be the freedom of choice, unexpected praise, etc.

Business partners are all those external to business necessary to run the business. Visible needs could be demand forecasting, on time payments, etc. Invisible needs could be transparency and fairness in dealings, relationships, etc.

Society would be all those external to business which is impacted by the business. Visible needs could be compliance to legal regulations, acting with responsibility, etc. Invisible needs could be initiatives for inclusive growth, establishing of industry standards, etc.
 
As I have mentioned earlier it is necessary that the leadership team debates and identifies these visible and invisible needs and develops strategies to systematically meet them to delight the stakeholders.