While the concept of stakeholders is not new to modern business environments and is often bandied around paired with other words such as engagement and management, the principle of ‘Active Stakeholder Participation’ used in Decision Thinking is distinct.
Stakeholder engagement when googled will garner an abundance of articles providing the hottest tips and tricks for communicating, managing and including stakeholders in business processes. Unfortunately, the underlying intention is often to stifle the contentious, reassure the invested and to get most onside while not giving away too much power.
As one of the four Decision Thinking Principles, ‘Active Stakeholder participation’ emphasises participation rather than consultation. It invites the diversity of thought and opinion provided by varying positions and views in all areas of the decision making process. (Cloverpop in their 2017 report showed 80% better decisions made when stakeholder diversity was utilised)
‘Active Stakeholder participation’ in decision thinking encourages the meaningful involvement of stakeholders throughout the decision making process. The requisite inclusion of Stakeholders dilutes cognitive bias and elucidates intangible values. It begins with identifying all who can either affect or be affected by the decision outcome and then asking them how they would like to engage. People are more likely to accept and own a decision outcome if they experience their perspectives being represented in the decision making process.
Decision Thinking considers at all the possible ways that stakeholders could partake in the decision journey. It also respects the way that different stakeholders wish to participate. The inclusion of Stakeholders in the decision process dilutes cognitive bias and elucidates intangible values
Possible participation includes:
- Create the decision process
- Developing decision options
- Explore trade-offs
- Design Criteria
- Participate in workshops, questionnaires, interviews
- Communication – Inform / Be informed
- Sign off on decision result
- Implement decision result
As always Decision Thinking considers what is requisite to a conscious, structured, transparent and robust decision and therefor balances active stakeholder participation with time and cost limitations.