HOW TO… Manage Stakeholders


Author: Margaret Gilbert

Procurement can have a number of stakeholders but there are degrees of stakeholders and involvement. All too often the matter of degree is forgotten so the first step is to have clarity around this.

This will assist in whether:

  1. Which stakeholder can see all documentation
  2. Which stakeholder has ‘hands on’ role
  3. Meetings – and how often
  4. Communication – to who, when and how
  5. Reporting line

It makes it difficult if these questions are not answered and which causes confusion.  Stakeholders can be externa as well as internal  It is even more important to have clarity around what external stakeholders can see.

What if you do not manage the stakeholders well?

Stakeholders have an interest and responsibility so it is important to manage. Stakeholders can provide ideas and suggestions so if you do not manage well you will miss out on ideas. On the other hand, stakeholders can get too involved so this has to be managed as well.

Useful checklist:

  1. Do you have contact details for stakeholders?
  2. Do you have clear reporting lines?
  3. Are you clear about direct stakeholders and indirect stakeholders?

Direct and Indirect stakeholders – there are differences between the two.

Direct – likely to be:

  1. Reporting line
  2. Full communication
  3. Provision of reports
  4. Direct input

Indirect stakeholders

  1. Updates only
  2. No direct involvement

Getting value from stakeholders

Usually stakeholders have an interest whether operational or compliance. If you do not keep stakeholders in the ‘loop’ then this can provide frustration and worse.

It is not in your best interest to disappoint stakeholders. They can act as procurement champions for you. They can promote procurement in the organisation which can only be of assistance to you.

Stakeholders can:

  1. Promote
  2. Provide ideas
  3. Provide direction

but can also criticise and ask questions.

Types/level of stakeholders

The usual type and level of stakeholders is (as) financial, (b) technical and (c) management. This is applicable for internal stakeholders. For external stakeholders it is likely to be (a) technical, (b) supplier, (c) Board member.

Could you get ‘lost’ when dealing with these stakeholders?
You can if you do not undertake what is required or do not provide the information required. You do not want to be a a negative factor. Being proactive is the key and shows the value add procurement can provide. This is a part of being seen and relevant.

Can stakeholders influence the outcome?
They can – for goods and bad – but they can influence in other areas such as resources, budget and time.

Procurement should encourage stakeholders and include as much as you can. This is your role and is just as important as the ‘day to day’.

Lastly, clarity and giving expertise is essential and is a key role to ensuring stakeholders requirements are met.

“Unlocking Value through Collaboration” is of course the theme for the 5th Annual PASA Premier ConfeX on 11th & 12th October 2017 at Crown Promenade Melbourne. The programme is packed with case studies and practical advice on how to work more collaboratively. Check out the programme here.

About Author

Procurement and Supply Australasia (PASA) is the leading provider of information and education to procurement and supply professionals throughout Australia and New Zealand. PASA supports the largest community of engaged procurement stakeholders in the region, through its renowned series of events, publications, awards, plus various community and network building activities. PASA is a trading name of BTTB Marketing, for many years recognised as the leading producer of conferences and events for the procurement profession in Australia and New Zealand. Whether producing under the BTTB, CIPSA Conferences or now PASA brands over the last ten years, our events have consistently led the market in terms of both educational and networking opportunities.

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