What Do Your Stakeholders Value?
For many us, the rate of change is incredible, both personally and for our organizations. How we deal with this change determines if our organization remains sustainable over both the short and longer term. So let’s review what your stakeholders want from organizations. By focusing on what they value I believe we are creating an organization that both meets and exceeds our customers’ expectations. In my experience with many leading nonprofits and healthcare organizations, the biggest success factor they all share is their focus on what their customers’ value. In a time with more limited budgets and more challenging economic times, we must focus on our market’s critical needs and not waste time on things that have minimum impact on our stakeholders.
What do your stakeholders value? For many organizations, they have a superficial understanding of the value they create for their customers. One of the first things I work on with clients and partners is to help them better understand what value they are creating for their key stakeholder groups. I believe that many organizations give this a quick look and choose not dig into how they customers’ worlds are changing and thus their expectations are changing. While working with a senior leadership team in a healthcare organization, we discussed what their clients expected from the doctor. We got many classic answers, such as good service, friendly people, and a good result from the procedure they were having done. On the surface, this was correct. But I then asked my doctors, “When was the last time they shopped for a better doctor?” There was an uncomfortable pause and a murmur among the physicians. What do I mean by a better doctor?
I then shared that for many older patients, the doctor was the person they trusted with their healthcare, literally trusted with their lives. However, for many caregivers, doctors were just another responsibility that they had to deal with in taking care of their aging parents. They had many different duties in their lives and in this case, they really didn’t understand or have the time to better understand what might be going on with their parents. I suggested that we try to uncover the wants of not only the primary patients, but also the wants and needs of their caregivers and even their primary physicians. The healthcare organization of the future would need to take these factors into account if they hoped to maintain their best clients for many years.
The big want we uncovered was that other key stakeholders need to be brought up to speed on what was going on with the patient. We had to serve our clients in a different way. We needed to provide support to our different stakeholders while still remaining focused on the patient. It was up to us to manage our stakeholders’ expectations at being better at managing their health over time. We needed to educate our patients to why they should choose us and why they should trust us with their health concerns. The education process was almost as valuable as the procedure itself, and for many caregivers, it was the primary reason they chose us to take care of their family’s health. Now, how did we support this need? First, we created fact sheets for each of the major procedures for the caregivers that would help them better understand what the patient would be going through with their procedures. We had to make it easy for them to access critical information both before and after the procedure. We had to make sure that our nurses were prepared to help patients during the procedures and move the right information to the referring doctors in an efficient manner. We also learned over time to share realistic expectations with all stakeholders from the start.
Now, why is this important to you and your organization? In a world where people have unlimited choices and unlimited information through the internet, we need to focus on what our clients are looking for. An Angie’s List for physicians is not as unlikely today as it might have been five years ago! In the past, changes may have taken a long time to happen. Today, everything has sped up and your stakeholders expect you to keep up with their changing priorities. If you don’t, there will be other organizations that do. If you hope to remain connected to your markets, you must learn how to better understand their expectations and then continue to help them meet their unmet needs if you want to have their continued support. Next week, we will share with you how to create better connection s with your stakeholders using the process we created to better understand what your customers’ expectations are and how to exceed them .
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.