Stakeholder Management Maturity

Must read

IT Project Teams are STILL driving competitive advantage

IT Projects are perfectly placed to shape the future of business as we emerge from this pandemic Businesses need to be leaner and more innovative. It’s time for IT Project teams to say, “Hold our coffee, watch us do our thing” – this is our moment.

Embrace the change: Getting to grips with new IT systems

New IT systems for a growing business can be an exciting prospect and deliver many benefits, but how do you convince employees to embrace...

5 Skills Needed To Drive Future Projects

Why do projects fail? It's a question that invites a lot of interest and significant statistics. And there are no wrong answers here. Skills shortages...

Does a Project Manager Need PM Qualifications?

What makes a successful project manager is a combination of their academic abilities, experience and skills, both "soft" and "hard" skills i.e. communication skills...
Lynda Bourne
Lynda is Director of Training with Mosaic Project Services focusing on the delivery of CAPM, PMP, Stakeholder Circle® and other project related workshops, training and mentoring services. She is also the CEO of Stakeholder Management Pty Ltd. She was the first student to gain a Doctorate in Project Management from the RMIT University and has extensive experience as a Senior Project Manager and Project Director specialising in delivery of IT and other business-related projects within the telecomms sector.

Ethical management and corporate governance are about balancing the competing needs of all of the organisations stakeholders, balancing long and short term goals and being socially responsible (CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility). The good news is empirical studies consistently show organisations that focus on these objectives also consistently out perform those seeking excessive profits in the short term.

However, this sort of long term, sustainable success is not achieved by the simplistic win-lose scenarios favoured by many MBAs. It needs mature, pragmatic governance and a focus on win-win. Successful organisations survive and thrive because they understand the only effective long term strategy is to help their customers succeed in their ambitions. So when the customers win and society wins, the organisation wins.

Focusing on customers and society at large may seem at odds with the first and fiduciary duty of the directors and managers of any commercial business which is to optimise the long term benefit of its investors/shareholders. The key element though is ‘long term’.

In the short term, the profits generated by Barclay’s Bank (or more accurately for managers within the bank) through the manipulation of the LIBOR index must have seemed attractive, the $500 million fine and the crash in share prices following the scandal have damaged the financial security of 1000s of innocent shareholders. A similar short-term approach focused on cost cutting and profits, but without overt illegal activity, destroyed $billions in value for BP shareholders as a result of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Ill informed cost cutting compromised safety and value was destroyed.

Less dramatic, but equally damaging was the destruction of the US car industry. GM and the other big US car manufactures spent most of the last 20 years responding to short term imperatives such as the quarterly share price and executives bonuses at the expense of the health of the business and the long term wealth of their stock holders. The net result, GM stock holders lost everything, and stock holders in other US vehicle manufacturers have lost almost everything. In contrast, Toyota’s stock holders are probably quite pleased with the long term strategic decisions their management made.

Toyota had a far better strategy for its business survival working on developing low emission, fuel efficient cars years before they became generally popular. The initial decision to invest in these new technologies had to have been at least in part driven by the desire to benefit the environment; there certainly was no compelling commercial reason at the time the decisions were made.

Similar debates also surround investments in corporate social responsibility (CSR). Statistically organisations that embrace CSR consistently do better then those that don’t; what is not so clear is if this measured improvement in performance is a result of investing in CSR or if the internal factors that create a sustained level of improved performance also predispose the organisation to CSR. Either way, the ‘good guys’ do consistently win!

I may be biased but my feeling is the touchstone that facilitates an effective focus on long-term sustainability, CSR and excellence in client services is the way organisations engage with their stakeholder community. A genuine engagement means caring about the other party and looking after their interests as well as you own. This is a two-way street and underpins customer loyalty, brand image and long-term sustainable growth.

Developing a mature, balanced and pragmatic approach to stakeholder relationships is hard work but this investment seems to be the underpinning needed to allow the optimum balancing of competing demands and opportunities, leading to the practical decision making needed to create the long term, sustained growth identified above.

Achieving the level of maturity needed to effectively engage with an organisation’s stakeholders to the benefit of everyone has to be driven from within the organisation’s culture. But simply wanting to ‘do good by doing good’ is not enough! The desire to engage effectively with your stakeholders needs to be backed up by hard work. There is a maturity ladder to climb. You can download the Stakeholder Relationship Maturity Model free of charge from

A final ‘chicken and egg’ conundrum – changing behaviour will change attitudes and culture, but you need a desire, that is embedded in culture to start on a journey of improvement. Beginning the improvement is the hardest bit of any change initiative.

How does this affect project management? First in the way you manage your project’s commitments to a wider community – Deepwater Horizon was first and foremost a project. Second, changing an organisation is itself a program and needs projects to create the deliverables and artefacts needed to implement the changes. Done well, ‘doing good’ is good for project management as well as the overall organisation. But starting the drive towards a mature approach to stakeholder management needs as many people as possible on-board, this includes you!

- Advertisement -

More articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

- Advertisement -

Latest article

Project Management Lessons learnt from Covid Holiday Disruption

The very definition of Holiday (Noun - an extended period of leisure and recreation, especially one spent away from home or in travelling), is an entirely flexible parameter to work within, so how do we adapt? And what Project Management lessons are to be learnt from this summer?

Project management for the ‘new normal’

We live in strange times. Who would have thought last year that 2020 would be the year of Covid-19, the year of...

Long-Term Strategies To Help Manage Your Team Remotely

The world has changed profoundly since COVID-19. No one saw a global pandemic coming but now isn’t the time to panic. Instead,...

10 Steps for Planning and Implementing a Successful Branding Project

Your brand is perhaps your most valuable asset. It defines your organisation’s reputation and visibility in the market. The strength of your...

4 Ways AI is Transforming How We Manage Projects

Project management is more than a simple planning of phases. It is an extremely dynamic function. Companies hire project managers to provide...