The traditional view is the shareholders, or owners or 'political masters' are the ones we're working for. If you'd asked any CEO 20 years ago, that's the answer you'd have got. And they want a return on their investment; whether that's dividends, profit or 'value for money'.
But from an internal perspective, this means optimising profitability and balancing the short-term demands for dividends against the long-term sustainability of the business model.
To ensure sustainable financial growth, we need to keep our customers satisfied. To do this, we need to develop and deliver products & services that add value to them. We also need to deliver excellent service to maximise retention, loyalty and our reputation.
Our people. An organisation is only as good as the people who work in it. If we want to attract, retain and fully engage our people, they need to have opportunities to grow. They need to feel cared for; that their efforts are recognised and appreciated. They need to be proud of the organisation they work in, the products and services they deliver and feel that they are making a positive contribution to the world around them.
So, the ability to attract and retain talented people isn't just about what goes on inside the organisation, it's also about the contribution to, and perceptions of, wider society. Are we talking about 'the people on the street‚' here? Well, for some organisations, this might be the case. But in most organisations, there are some key stakeholder groups within society who either influence us or who we want to influence. They could be potential customers; potential partners; potential employees; potential investors. If we want to be attractive to them, we need to have a strong brand reputation. We need to be able to demonstrate that we adopt the highest standards of ethical behaviour in all our actions. We need to have transparent and proactive communication and reporting to build this trust.
We need leaders who inspire trust at all time; who are role models for the organisations values and integrity. They need to have a clear vision for the future; develop the strategies that will achieve these goals and engage the stakeholders to join them on this journey. The organisation needs robust internal processes to ensure they manage their resources effectively and efficiently and the right partners and suppliers to deliver.
You work for all these stakeholders. And it's part of the job of the Management Team to understand what they expect from my organisation. Of course, we can't deliver everything that everyone wants all the time; that's why we need to create a dialogue so we can effectively balance these different, sometimes conflicting expectations and come up with a plan that works for all.
How do we manage this level of complexity? How do we coordinate the activities of the organisation to achieve the juggling act required to balance the different stakeholder needs? Wouldn't it be great if there was a framework that helped us make sense of this?
Well, we think there is. The EFQM Excellence Model provides a holistic tool for assessing how effective you are in developing and delivering a stakeholder focused strategy. The 4 result areas focus on what's important to the 4 key stakeholder groups.
At its simplest level, the Model is a cause and effect diagram. If we want to achieve a different result, we need to change something we do within the organisation.
And because what is considered excellent today will only be considered as adequate tomorrow, there is a continual improvement loop, feeding back the learning from the results achieved and using creativity and innovation to drive increased value for the stakeholders.