In Part I of this series, I examined a portion of a framework for making decisions that match the real needs of the organization. I call such decision-making processes congruent, because the resulting decisions fit the organization. That first part of the framework provides guidance to organizational leaders to ensure consideration of the needs and concerns of all stakeholders. That's fine as far as it goes, but it assumes that stakeholders want to — and know how to — express their needs and concerns, if given the opportunity. In this Part II, I offer a framework for stakeholders to guide them in expressing their needs and concerns in a complete and forthright manner.
This second part of the framework is important, because incongruent decisions can result even if the stakeholders or their representatives are free to express their concerns. For example, if stakeholders ask for more than they need in order to have "room to negotiate" then they deprive the decision-making team of access to the stakeholders' true concerns.
Here are four criteria that stakeholders or their representatives can use to express their concerns in ways that support congruent decision making.
- Stakeholders express their own true concerns
- Each class of stakeholders has its own concerns, independent of the concerns of others. While it's true that a given stakeholder's concerns might conflict with the concerns of other stakeholders, the decision makers' task is to resolve such conflicts, balancing conflicting concerns. They can carry out that task effectively only if they understand the true concerns of all stakeholders.
- Stakeholders honor the concerns of other stakeholders
- Stakeholders or their representatives who express their understanding of the concerns of other stakeholders provide invaluable assistance to decision makers. Decision makers almost inevitably must balance conflicting concerns. Understanding how different stakeholders see the concerns of other stakeholders is essential to this balancing process. For example, if one set of stakeholders harbors a mistaken view of the concerns of a second set of stakeholders, decision makers can clarify and resolve the misunderstanding only if they know about it.
- Every Incongruent decisions can result
even if the stakeholders or their
representatives are free
to express their concernsstakeholder has a legitimate role relative to the mission of the enterprise. In expressing their own concerns, stakeholders must honor the roles of other stakeholders appropriately.
- Stakeholders honor the concerns of the enterprise
- The stakeholders in the decision in question have a relationship with the enterprise as a whole. Stakeholders' understanding of the concerns of the enterprise is useful data for decision makers.
- The enterprise has concerns independent of the direct concerns of any of the stakeholders in the decision in question. Enterprise leadership must make decisions that balance stakeholder concerns, even when those stakeholder concerns are in direct conflict with each other or with the concerns of the enterprise. Stakeholders in the decisions in question must be aware of enterprise concerns, and they must express their understanding of those concerns to decision makers.
- Stakeholders honor society's concerns
- Society at large also has concerns, but in most cases, society has no means of expressing them as part of the decision process. When we express our own concerns to decision makers, we must take society's concerns into account. For example, we want our actions to be in compliance with the law, and with societal norms. We might have concerns for the locale, for our nation, or for the global environment.
Finally, decision makers are stakeholders too. Congruence in decision-making processes requires that decision makers assume responsibility for their decisions, but they cannot be responsible for incongruence of the stakeholders. When other stakeholders mislead or manipulate decision makers, they show disregard for decision makers as people, and incongruent decisions can result. First in this series Top Next Issue
Is every other day a tense, anxious, angry misery as you watch people around you, who couldn't even think their way through a game of Jacks, win at workplace politics and steal the credit and glory for just about everyone's best work including yours? Read 303 Secrets of Workplace Politics, filled with tips and techniques for succeeding in workplace politics. More info
Your comments are welcomeWould you like to see your comments posted here? rbrenZLkFdSHmlHvCaSsuner@ChacbnsTPttsdDaRAswloCanyon.comSend me your comments by email, or by Web form.
About Point Lookout
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful, and that you'll consider recommending it to a friend.
Point Lookout is a free weekly email newsletter. Browse the archive of past issues. Subscribe for free.
Support Point Lookout by joining the Friends of Point Lookout, as an individual or as an organization.
Do you face a complex interpersonal situation? Send it in, anonymously if you like, and I'll give you my two cents.
More articles on Workplace Politics:
- Hostile Collaborations
- Sometimes collaboration with people we hold in low regard can be valuable. If we enter a hostile collaboration
without first accepting both the hostility and the value, we might sabotage it outside our awareness,
and that can render the effort worthless — or worse. What are the dynamics of hostile collaborations,
and how can we do them well?
- What Insubordinate Nonsubordinates Want: II
- When you're responsible for an organizational function, and someone not reporting to you won't recognize
your authority, or doesn't comply with policies you rightfully established, you have a hard time carrying
out your responsibilities. Why does this happen?
- Projects as Proxy Targets: I
- Some projects have detractors so determined to prevent project success that there's very little they
won't do to create conditions for failure. Here's Part I of a catalog of tactics they use.
- Narcissistic Behavior at Work: I
- Briefly, when people exhibit narcissistic behavior they're engaging in activity that systematically
places their own interests and welfare ahead of the interests and welfare of anyone or anything else.
It's behavior that threatens the welfare of the organization and everyone employed there.
- Multi-Expert Consensus
- Some working groups consist of experts from many fields. When they must reach a decision by consensus,
members have several options. Defining those options in advance can help the group reach a decision
with all its relationships intact.
See also Workplace Politics and Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness for more related articles.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming March 29: Time Slot Recycling: The Risks
- When we can't begin a meeting because some people haven't arrived, we sometimes cancel the meeting and hold a different one, with the people who are in attendance. It might seem like a good way to avoid wasting time, but there are risks. Available here and by RSS on March 29.
- And on April 5: The Fallacy of Division
- Errors of reasoning are pervasive in everyday thought in most organizations. One of the more common errors is called the Fallacy of Division, in which we assume that attributes of a class apply to all members of that class. It leads to ridiculous results. Available here and by RSS on April 5.
I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrenZLkFdSHmlHvCaSsuner@ChacbnsTPttsdDaRAswloCanyon.com or (650) 787-6475, or toll-free in the continental US at (866) 378-5470.
Get the ebook!
Past issues of Point Lookout are available in six ebooks:
- Get 2001-2 in Geese Don't Land on Twigs (PDF, )
- Get 2003-4 in Why Dogs Wag (PDF, )
- Get 2005-6 in Loopy Things We Do (PDF, )
- Get 2007-8 in Things We Believe That Maybe Aren't So True (PDF, )
- Get 2009-10 in The Questions Not Asked (PDF, )
- Get all of the first twelve years (2001-2012) in The Collected Issues of Point Lookout (PDF, )
Are you a writer, editor or publisher on deadline? Are you looking for an article that will get people talking and get compliments flying your way? You can have 500-1000 words in your inbox in one hour. License any article from this Web site. More info