Stakeholder Management Using Flowchart Diagrams

“The business of business isn’t just about creating profits for shareholders — it’s also about improving the state of the world and driving stakeholder value”- Marc Benioff

Projects in the modern world often involve a large number (and variety) of actors and participants that contribute input to outcomes. The inputs can take the form of support, investments, labor, guidance, management, and resources. In this context, stakeholder management represents an umbrella term that denotes the process of engaging with said actors and maintaining working relationships with each individual, or groups thereof. Some experts note stakeholder management pertains to “the systematic identification, analysis, planning and implementation of actions designed to engage with stakeholders.” Communications and engagement play a central role in stakeholder management; these actions, when calibrated, planned, and implemented, can find expression through analytical frameworks such as flowchart diagrams.

A high level view of stakeholder management can find representation through a simple, circular flowchart diagram. This illustration can contain key stages that depict actions related to managing the interests and expectations of stakeholders. In line with this, organizational actors can position text inside the various stages to identify the stakeholders, document their needs and requirements, analyze their key interests, manage the manifest expectations of stakeholders, initiate relevant actions, start reviews of the outcome of said actions, etc. This attempt at stakeholder management clearly outlines a plan that could deeply connect an organization with stakeholders at various levels. The results may include heightened engagement, an awareness of evolving expectations, and a wide scope to step up ongoing collaborations between an organization and the stakeholder community. Further to this, businesses may elect to include additional stages inside the illustration to drive business-specific items of stakeholder management.

Internal and external stakeholders represent two different constituencies. Any initiative to drive stakeholder management must delineate these two categories of stakeholders. This is necessary because the distinction can help drive different forms of management strategies. A diagram can help business operators outline the various types (and locations) of such stakeholders. In this respect, a truncated flowchart can emerge around a central entity, say, the business operator or corporate enterprise. The left section of the illustration can plot a series of internal stakeholders, including employees, managerial staff, owners, advisors, and promoters of the company. External stakeholders can emerge on the right side of the diagram; this section houses an expansive selection of actors located outside the organization. Such stakeholders can include suppliers, vendors, society, government, creditors, shareholders, clients, customers, regulators, etc. The flowchart that emerges from these exertions clearly underlines the distinction between the different classes of stakeholders, and drives a better form of stakeholder management for the sponsor organization.

Levels of engagement with stakeholders remain key to the success of the overall effort aimed at stakeholder management. Different categories of action empower an organization to drive a sustained attempt in said project. The planning process that forges different levels of engagement can describe a succession of stages positioned inside a flowchart diagram. The key stages inside could include action labels such as ‘manage closely‘, ‘monitor‘, ‘keep informed‘, and ‘keep satisfied‘. These actions are directed to different categories of stakeholders whose actions can impact the operational and strategic plans of a business organization. That said; each stage inside the flowchart must depict sub-stages that describe and enrich the quality of each action label. Once populated, the flowchart represents a detailed document that bears potential to drive a nuanced stakeholder management strategy. Additionally, business leaders can take the initiative to input micro-strategies designed to drive synergies between the different categories of stakeholders. Such actions may result in dense ganglia that enriches meaning inside the master illustration.

Departures from the norms that govern traditional design of flowcharts can assist business operators devise multiple strategies of stakeholder management. Pursuant to this, a business operator could design three separate sketches that depict squares populated with textual and graphical information. Each of these squares represents a stage inside a purported flowchart; the first stage identifies and assesses categories of stakeholders; the second stage helps develop strategies to engage advocates that wield high levels of influence; the third stage depicts ideas to (periodically) re-assess the interests of stakeholders. Graphical forms of data can add informational heft to each stage, thereby creating a complete strategy document aimed at stakeholder management. We note this act of delineating varieties of stakeholders creates fertile ground for an effective management strategy. Such actions can be complemented by acts that deploy specific organizational talent and actors to pursue the different strategies depicted inside the illustration.

A structured communication strategy should comprise the beating heart of stakeholder management when organizations set upon executing complex projects. This can be executed through a flowchart diagram that begins by identifying the objectives of such communication. The subsequent stages can describe the planning mechanisms, areas of collaboration between the organization and various stakeholders, steps to promote transparency in communication, an effective vetting of the multiple issues involved in such communication, etc. The manifest interests of different categories of stakeholders should underline every stage of this flowchart diagram; in addition, these stages must promote their power to influence project outcomes. The illustration should serve as a lodestone that instructs every level of the sponsor organization in the fine art of stakeholder management in modern times.

Further to the above, feedback from stakeholders is necessary to successfully achieve project goals. This aspect of stakeholder management is a pre-requisite to enable the smooth operation of complex, multi-tiered projects. In line with this, the designers of flowcharts can add various sub-stages inside a diagram with a view to record and spotlight feedback and suggestions from stakeholders. These can find representation in loops that enhance the meaning of different forms of content positioned inside the flowchart. Businesses that operate with a long-term perspective may elect to append dates to these loops as a means of enforcing accountability on organizational actors. In addition, the incorporation of such feedback into flowchart diagrams serves to enrich the narrative encased in such illustrations.

The strategic, tactical, and operational aspects of stakeholder management must be clearly delineated inside flowchart illustrations. This indicates, at different levels, the ideas pertaining to process ownership, process management, and process practitioners. Each organization must work to assign appropriate personnel to these levels, thereby affixing responsibility at different levels inside the organization. This technique also empowers an organization to respond to the question of stakeholder management in a graded fashion and such a matrix applies to every version of the illustrations depicted above. Collaboration with all manner of stakeholders remains the overarching theme in these illustrations.

The leaders of industries, business analysts, and designers may work to define new thrusts in the practice of stakeholder management in tune with different contexts. These thrusts may vary for different industries such as financial services, retail operations, engineering services, commercial travel services, and more. Each of these operators caters to different stakeholders, and therefore must essentially navigate different landscapes in terms of stakeholder management activities. That said; the use of the digital medium should help designers to create visually diverse illustrations that inform readers at different levels. The use of various colors, fonts, and graphics can infuse a sense of modernity in the age-old idea of inter-connected blueprints.

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