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Everybody's Advocate, Everybody's Voice: Stakeholder success is your success

Updated: Apr 22

Being a change champion isn't a new concept and championing unity goes hand in hand with stakeholder alignment. Becoming everybody's advocate and everybody's voice is one path to stakeholder success.

In an industry where the concept of success is not an individual pursuit, it's important to build support behind collective achievement. Organisations, businesses and communities thrive when every stakeholder is considered and empowered. But this can be quite intricate and difficult to navigate. It's important for change leaders to accept that everybody needs an advocate, and for change managers to be just that.

1. The Power of Advocacy:

Being an advocate for our stakeholders involves understanding and championing their needs, concerns and aspirations. Fostering a sense of community builds trust and collaboration. Advocacy is the key to unlocking the full potential of each stakeholder, creating an environment where everyone feels heard and valued - in other words a community. Even the nay-sayers and less popular voices need to feel heard in order to be open to the fact that there could be a parallel view that also works.

2. Inclusivity is Fundamental to Change:

Inclusivity is not just a buzzword, it's the foundation for success in any change initiative. By embracing diversity and ensuring that every stakeholder's voice is acknowledged, organisations can tap into a wealth of perspectives, ideas, and talents. Inclusivity breeds innovation and resilience, laying the groundwork for sustainable success.

As a young mum driving the streets of my city with small children I often became flustered and frustrated by the expectations built into traffic flow and road rules. You were highly criticised for leaving your baby in the car for even a few minutes: so how do you pay for petrol? Unload the baby capsule and the toddler? Hold hands as you walk in to pay, return to the car load up again. Or what about parking near the school to collect small children who can't walk very far after a long day, and need to be kept safe near main roads? And don't get me started on working out the intricacies of parking signs on three hours' sleep and only 10 minutes to get in before the library closes.

After working in one of the city's traffic control centres on a change management assignment, it became abundantly clear why the needs of young parents weren't more intuitively understood: the composition of staff in the centre was homogenous - primarily senior staff with para-military backgrounds. Not a young parent in sight.

Diversity and inclusivity help you understand the needs across your entire stakeholder and customer base.

3. Shared Success:

The days of a single leader claiming success should be well behind us. In our interconnected world success is shared and celebrated collectively. Understanding that the success of one stakeholder contributes to the success of all is a paradigm shift that benefits everyone involved. A rising tide lifts all boats, and by fostering an environment of shared success, we amplify the impact of our efforts.

4. Building a Culture of Support:

A change manager listening to a stakeholder

Becoming everybody's advocate means creating a culture of support. Whether in a business setting or a community context, a supportive culture encourages collaboration, open communication and a genuine concern for the well-being of each stakeholder. This, in turn, leads to increased morale, higher productivity, and a more resilient collective.

Naturally stakeholders need to be able to hear 'no' occasionally, but make sure they're not being asked to hear 'no' before anyone has heard their needs.

5. Empowering Through Communication:

Communication is the lifeblood of change management. Being everybody's voice involves open, effective, accessible and transparent communication channels. Regularly engaging with stakeholders, sharing information and seeking feedback are essential components of advocacy. This not only ensures that everyone is informed but also empowers them to actively contribute to the success of the whole.

Even passive channels like an email inbox mean stakeholders can always reach you. In a large systems program for a government agency, we implemented an email inbox that became a regular source of technical input and even resource provision. We never knew what we were going to get, but it was always genuine engagement.

Individual and collective success are intertwined

Change managers who strive to become everybody's advocate and voice won't just engage in a noble pursuit; they will fill a strategic function. Organisations and communities that prioritise the well-being and success of every stakeholder are better positioned to navigate challenges, embrace opportunities, and create shared achievement. By championing unity and embracing the principles of advocacy, inclusivity, shared success, and a supportive culture, we pave the way for better delivery of harmonious outcomes.


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