What do Pigs Feet, Fried Chicken and Contract Management Have in Common?
Not to overshare, but I am a huge fan of fried chicken and waffles – one of my favorite foods. My father, on the other hand, obsesses over pig’s feet. “Eew!", you might say. The image, much less the connotation of pig’s feet, is not positive. But, to him, pig’s feet are one of the world’s true delicacies.
When I make dinner for my father, do I make him fancy chicken and waffles, or do I make him pig’s feet? I make him pig’s feet. Here’s why: different individuals have different preferences, which must be acknowledged and respected.
As you might have surmised, this blog is not about pig’s feet or fried chicken. Rather, it is about how important it is to understand and address your stakeholders from their perspectives – especially if you want their buy-in for your contract management software initiative.
So, what exactly is a stakeholder and how should they be considered? According to Investopedia, a stakeholder is defined as “a person, group or organization that has interest or concern in an organization", that can “affect or be affected by the organization’s actions, objectives and policies." Typically, stakeholders play a role throughout the entire process – from inception to execution to production. Thus, it is crucial - and most certainly recommended - to understand their preferences and perspectives.
There are two types of stakeholders:
Definition: Individuals who reside inside the company as board members, executives, managers, employees, and trade unions and who benefit directly from their contributions to the growth of the company.
Retrieved from CIPS whitepaper, here’s a brief snapshot of what is considered Internal Stakeholders, their interests, needs, drivers, and influence and contribution within an organization:
|Staff/team members or other organization members
|Sales and marketing function
Definition: Individuals and organizations that are affected by the financial well-being of a company, who are not directly a part of that company.
And, here’s a snapshot of external stakeholders’ interests and contribution/influence (CIPS):
|Government and regulatory bodies
|Pressure groups (e.g. Greenpeace and interest groups, trade unions)
|Community and society at large
Addressing the Needs of Your Stakeholders
Now that we understand the distinct roles, interests, and influence of our stakeholders, we can leverage this information as we incorporate them into our business case and elicit their support for our contract management software initiative.
Everyone Wants to Win
“When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity."
- Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People -
It is undeniable that stakeholders care about the profitability and growth of their respective areas of responsibility. Ensuring that their interests are addressed will increase their likelihood of supporting your initiative. If they win, you win - and so does the organization. Stakeholder theory by Freeman (1984) states that organizations that persistently serve their group of stakeholders’ interests will see a positive correlation in their value and time (Campbell, 1997 and Freeman, 1984). When presenting your business case, be sure to include information that is both positive and relevant to their areas of responsibility.
No Bullshit, Please
While everyone wants a win, make sure that your argument is supported with facts and that you have both identified and mitigated potential risks. Various research entities can assist in this area, including the International Association for Contract and Commercial Management (IACCM), Gartner, and Forrester.
In addition to presenting such facts, it is also important to present both a timeline and vendor considerations.
If You Want Peace, (You Must) Prepare for War
Seems dramatic? Maybe? In a stakeholder meeting, especially with senior management, you will likely be presented with a variety of tough questions and criticism (constructive or otherwise). Your initiative will likely compete for these stakeholders' attention and budget.
In preparation for this, prepare yourself to answer some of the toughest questions thrown at you by your stakeholders. Not only will it be important to know your facts, but also to have both a primary and fallback plan. No plan will be perfect, but it will be important to demonstrate that you’ve accessed all aspects should something go awry. As Anthony Iannarino says, “An idea is worthless, but an execution is priceless."
Eat the Pig’s Feet?
So, will I eat the pig's feet the next time I have dinner with my dear old dad? Probably not. But, I will view his affection for the dish with a much greater appreciation.
“Three-quarters of the miseries and misunderstandings in the world would finish if people were to put on the shoes of their adversaries and understood their points of view."
- Mahatma Gandhi -
Contracts 365 –the Leading Contract Management Software for the Microsoft Cloud
If you are considering implementing contract management software, consider Contracts 365. Contracts 365 is the leading contract management software for Microsoft customers. With usability, functionality, and security at the forefront of development, Contracts 365 addresses all aspects of the contract lifecycle through a modern, intuitive interface specific to your users. Customer First Cloud Architecture provides IT with the security of Microsoft 365 while powerful prebuilt integrations with Dynamics and Salesforce extend the platform to every part of your business. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to contact us or to request a demo.
Campbell, A. (1997). Stakeholders: The case in favor. Long Range Planning. 30: 446-449. Retrieved from: http://dx.doi.org/10/1016/S004-6301(97)00003-4
Freeman, R. E. (1984). Strategic Management: A stakeholder approach. Boston: Pitm