As a communicator I work with a lot of organisations in a field called Stakeholder Management.
I often feel uncomfortable with the term ‘stakeholder.’
It is often used to keep people and groups at arms length; disparate groups, often with ‘issues’ who may challenge an organisation going about its business. To suggest they be ‘managed’ often really implies ‘kept quiet’.
Enlightened organisations don’t have that attitude. They see the opportunities that can lie in so called stakeholder groups, and when people are outspoken on an issue, there is a powerful opportunity for them to participate in becoming part of the solution.
My point is that the stories these people have are the real untold stories of our communities, our publics, our stakeholders, our investors, our clients, our customers, our opponents and our competitors.
The more we look for the humanity and love and valuable stories in all of these groups, with their diverging views, the more robust we become in delivering our vision, our service, our products.
It is their passion, their heartfelt feelings that have people become vocal ‘stakeholders’. To relegate these voices to a nuisance factor is to drive a stake into the heart of their humanity.
If we learn to love our outspoken people, hunting for the value in what they say, we become more robust, as individuals, as organisations as communities to do what we are here to do.