Monday, March 22, 2021

Stakeholder Collaboration Equals Business Success

It makes no difference if an organization is attempting new opportunities or dealing with emerging threats, stakeholder collaboration, with significant visibility, will deliver improved competitive positions and more sustainable businesses. Even if the change efforts are more focused on continuous process improvement, better customer experiences, or incremental digital transformation, the importance of stakeholder collaboration is significant.  Stakeholders can be at the executive level or just innovative business managers in search of significant results as long as they don't sub-optimize on small organizational units to the detraction of others. Stakeholder collaboration provides great insurance for overall results. What are the typical stakeholders for integrated and large impact change in organizational customer journeys and processes?  Let's explore the following collaborating roles for business outcomes. 

Core Stakeholders

Stakeholders are the key drivers for management and change that measure true business outcomes throughout the defined scope of efforts to innovate or improve. They typically are innovative and hard-driving groups or individuals that want to improve outcomes. For large scoped high impact efforts typically customers, social communities, partners. investors and vendors are engaged and involved. For more localized efforts, most of the stakeholders are internal but looking for cross-organizational outcomes. Stakeholders often charge optimization agents in seasons of low change to deliver better incremental results and change agents for sure in seasons of high change. 

Optimization Agents 

Journey and process managers are key collaborators for the core stakeholders and help manage the process operators to ever-improving results over time. This is what I call "Small Change" that constantly optimizes existing journeys or processes to make them better overall. Typically the changes are around tuning and optimizing the goals, guardrails, and performance indicators in existing processes and can be done without large and cascading impacts. Core stakeholders allow a greater level of freedom for these kinds of improvements, but visibility to the improvements is essential.

Change Agent:

"Big Change" is usually lead by change agents that seek bigger scopes and larger impacts, so the intensity and frequency of collaboration rise with the stakes. There is usually a significant communication plan to let all the participants know the progress even if the large change is bitten off piece by piece in an agile change and development environment. The change agent will be constantly collaborating with the Core Stakeholders as the risk-reward equation demands it. In fact "Fail Fast" proto-types, simulation efforts, and model work environments might have to be established to prove viability. The change agent plays a key role by working with optimization agents that represent present practices and the core stakeholders that want significant change or even a whole new model of work. 

What are the key best practices to enable and even enhance these key collaborations? Let's explore three that I have seen work in multiple organizations. 

Incented Collaboration is a Best Practice

Getting the change core stakeholders wants in the best possible way requires a change in the reward system. Individuals should be incented to take reasonable risks so the fail-fast approach gets some momentum. Most people dislike change so the chance for runaway fail-fast efforts is unlikely. It is also important to report the learnings of failed efforts, so no punishment for failures is also a key incentive. 

Holistic Visibility is a Best Practice

It is important to have visibility into results, collaborations, and learnings in near real-time so that key collaborators and core stakeholders are aware of the state of progress, so they have a chance to inquire and potentially provide a forward block for the change experimenters and implementers. This visibility is likely to kick off more collaborations that are in the public eye, so good ideas will bubble to the top. 

Capturing Innovation Ideas is Best Practice  

Often good ideas are tossed onto the refuse heap because they don't immediately assist the efforts in progress. Innovative organizations will likely want to see, hear and store innovation ideas for the future and further core stakeholder collaborations. Instead of a distraction, these ideas are a coveted source of future gems of progress. Some will make the grade and some will not, but losing them in the hustle to completion is not acceptable.

Net; Net:

The modern and sustainable business must employ collaboration. The savviest of the organizations will collect, inspect and evaluate these collaborations for contributions to desired outcomes. These organizations will employ the very best methods and tools to focus these collaborations into progress now or in the future. An example of a collaboration platform that not only gets this approach but promotes it is Parallel. Check out Working in parallel






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