I recently posted a blog entry entitled “open letter to the CEO” and
one of the readers took me to task for posting something with a
misspelling because I used the term Stakeholder instead of Shareholder.
we might be talking semantics here, I thin for every organization there
is tremendous potential to change the focus from shareholder to
stakeholder. It encompasses a greater audience for the success of the
organization. But assuming we are talking just semantics only let’s look
at the definitions of the two terms.
According to Dictionary.com,
a shareholder refers to one who holds or owns shares of a company. In
essence this means that the individual or organization holds a financial
interest in the organization and looks at all decisions from a return
on investment perspective. Every decision that is made is from the view
of the effect on the bottom line.
According to Dictionary.com
again, the stakeholder is a person or group that has an investment,
share, or interest in the organization.
So here is where I part
ways with the comment writer. The global marketplace has changed. Our
success as organizations is now dependent on a rapidly growing resource
base for our success. The correct term in the new arena is that of
stakeholder. The investment does not have to be in the form of shares of
stock. Consider these stakeholders and see how they differ from
- Your industry
- Your competitors
- Potential talent resources
look at our organizations to determine what is necessary for the
organization to make them more competitive in the marketplace. We do
this through our policies, our products, our customer service levels,
the way we treat employees and how we treat the community in which we
function everyday. The stakeholder has a vested interest in the success
of our organization. Unlike a shareholder, if we are not meeting their
needs they can easily pick up and abandon our efforts for someone who
will meet those needs. This global marketplace we are now in demands
transparency with all parties to the operations from the floor person to
the executive suite to the customer and vendor. It demands a new focus
on what makes all better not just one segment of the equation.
next time you are reviewing the operation of your enterprise, consider
broadening your focus to encompass the entire market rather then just
those who have put their money where their mouth is in the form of a
monetary investment within your organization. Consider that those
individuals who help you make, sell and service your product or service
are just as important as the shareholders.