Delivering Value to your Stakeholder(s)?
Updated: Nov 12, 2021
A system (corporate, technical, personal life, etc) must implicitly and explicitly address the needs of key stakeholders; otherwise it would be answering a question that was not asked. Let's explore from the business, personal development and spiritual contexts...
Hello there!!! Welcome to my first blog post!!! Hurray!!!!
I am excited to be starting out on this new journey with you all, following my passion to share knowledge and a new found direction to share insights from my life story, experiences and learnings with a global audience to ignite a transformational change in your life, business and relationships. Thanks to technology and a mindset shift accelerated by the global pandemic, the stage of life and interactions have shifted to a global scale and I welcome you into this new exponential value proposition. I have come to realize that someone out there previously hindered by geographical boundaries can now connect in the borderless virtual world to experience a transformation from the insights I am looking to share.
My key focus areas for blogging cover three main dimensions 1) professional Insights anchored along strategy, system thinking and corporate foresights to transform your corporate and professional experience; 2) Personal development insights to help you transform from the inside out to get to the best version of yourself, in line with my passions around continuous improvements; and 3) Faith insights sharing thoughts on the spiritual inner being and the connections to the key stakeholder and content owner of life - God - with thoughts anchored to the the three-dimensional expression of God according to my Christian faith - God the Father, the Son and HolySpirit expressed in relatable life examples.
My subsequent posts will largely focus on a specific category/dimension per time. However, this first post weaves in all three focus areas as I discuss the concept of value delivery to stakeholders.
The system concept
I have been intrigued in recent times by the concept of systems and how they are applicable to all works of life; from complex technical systems to even more complex social systems. The concept focuses on a combination of parts that function as a whole to achieve a purpose in which the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Key to system thinking is the concept of stakeholders and how the system delivers value by addressing the needs of key stakeholders. The task of identifying your primary stakeholder(s) is very critical because that is the only way to ensure that your system, business, work deliverable, life journey delivers the best value by meeting the specific needs of critical stakeholders. The entity that commissions a job or who is paying for the service may not be the direct user of the product and as such the value out of the system needs to be developed with an understanding of the chain of stakeholder dependencies.
Are you answering the most relevant questions with your life, business, career, etc? If not, you may not be delivering value or delivering suboptimal value at best...
From a business strategy perspective, companies are often faced with challenges of verifying that their offerings are optimal for their target audience. Sometimes though, the real issue is that they have either not fully identified or characterized their true key stakeholders. As such, while they are targeting their offerings at the paying stakeholders or the visible stakeholders who are definitely important as the key contacts, they fail to recognize other primary stakeholders who are the real users of the product or services. In addition, in the evolving fast-changing present-day business environment, with technology expanding options for potential customers, blurring industry boundaries, changing demographics and associated value measures, a lot of 'corporate systems' are really struggling because of a failure to keep abreast with the transitions that impact the way their target stakeholders measure value. Some stakeholder needs are stated explicitly while other needs have to be derived, implied or observed. A corporate system is able to deliver optimal value when they learn to better characterize who their key stakeholders are; define their (stakeholders) true value measures which may be dynamic in response to all the other things impacting the overall context of use such as shifting preferences and interpretation of value; and then target their services and product offerings to address the needs while being agile enough to update strategies to keep ahead of the competition curve.
Some stakeholder needs are stated explicitly while other needs have to be derived, implied or observed..
From a personal development perspective, its important to note that a lot of people go through life trying so hard to meet the needs of several entities from acquaintances, friends to sometimes random bystanders, that they fail to deliver value to the most critical stakeholder - themselves. Hence, even when they feel like they have lived a comfortable life, being role models for many and even envied by some others, they sometimes still feel unfulfilled later in life. As you journey through life you must ask yourself, "how am I delivering value to myself from my 'life experiences system'?". Life Experiences is indeed a system, as while each one may not account for much by itself, the unique combination of everything in all dimensions creates a unique whole with more potential impacts that the sum of individual events' impacts. If in doubt, think of those times that you have interpreted a specific situation differently from the person next to you who also experienced the exact same situation because you have some references from a situation that impacted you in the past which may be related or unrelated to the present situation.
As you journey through life you must ask yourself, "how am I delivering value to myself from my 'life experiences system'?"
One way the to deliver value to yourself is in your credibility - How much people can vouch for your person, character and abilities. Credibility is built from a combination of your present activities and the investments in your future self. How well are you delivering value to your current situation and also setting up yourself to enable delivery of future value in that dream role or situation? What skills are you investing in? Are you striking a balance between development and delivery? While its important to volunteer for stretch assignments, a vital lesson I had been told by one of my supervisors early in my career is that, the job that currently has your name attached to it regardless of how mundane it appears to be, needs to get done first. There are people who have been recommended for bigger assignments and positions of authority because a person who observed them in their current role attests to excellence, attention to detail, calm demeanor under stressful situations, and all the other unique characteristics that can be mapped unto a greater role. So while you chase the next big thing, think of the value you are delivering today. However, when you get to the big thing eventually you must be ready to deliver at that level based on the development investments you have made in yourself while waiting.
Credibility is built from a combination of your present activities and the investments in your future self...............Are you striking a balance between development and delivery?
Lastly from a spiritual perspective, I believe that at the end of our sojourn on Mother Earth and, in fact while we are still here, the ultimate value we deliver is to our manufacturer - the Almighty God. The purpose of our creation is to please God and point others towards His glory. In science, we had been taught that the moon has no light of its own but actually reflects the light of the sun which is why when something like the earth gets between the sun and the moon there is darkness. So also, it is with our lives as creations of God as we are meant to reflect His light and love to the world around us. Given that He is the primary stakeholder of our lives, we must be reminded that as we run through life's races and journeys, the ultimate definition of the value of a life well spent is how much of God's Glory we reflected to transform lives and guide others to His saving grace. So there is a need for a constant self examination to ensure that Heaven's investments in you in the form of the gift of life, your unique experiences, your pains, laughter and everything in between is delivering the ultimate value of bringing God pleasure.
The purpose of our creation is to please God and point others towards His glory..........
So what now?
Regardless of what dimension we focus on, the principle of stakeholder value is critical and is a core reflection point. The questions to ask include "Have I identified my key stakeholder(s)?", "Do I understand how they qualify value?","Am I delivering value?", "Am I answering the right question(s) with my _______ system?". Your ability to answer these questions is critical to ensure you deliver top-notch value in your life, relationships, career and business.
Wishing you a transformational time ahead.