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.  

Stakeholders Defined

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:

Internal 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:



  • The organization’s profitability, survival and growth
  • Fulfilment of objectives and projects for which they are responsible (requiring purchasing inputs and/or support)
  • Formal authority over planning
  • Shape the commitment and motivation of staff
  • Influence through politics, networking and influencing skills
Staff/team members or other organization members
  • The organization’s profitability and survival for continued employment
  • Support, information and inputs to fulfil task goals and earn rewards
  • Healthy and safe working environment
  • Fair and ethical treatment
  • Scarce resource: competitive edge in times or areas of skill shortage
  • Threat of withdrawn labour
  • Potential to add value through skilled, motivated performance, flexibility, etc. (especially in services)

design function

  • Accurate fulfilment of specifications
  • Timely, relevant, expert advice on price and availability issues
  • Connection to suppliers who might contribute innovation and expertise
  • Determine specifications and materials which the buyer will have to translate into purchase orders


operations function

  • Right inputs at right price and right quality, delivered to right place at right time to maintain efficient flow of production
  • Supplier management and SCM to support flexibility, JIT supply, innovation, etc.
  • Sourcing and procurement service (e.g. for capital equipment) or consultancy
  • Key internal customer: purchasing performance measured by fulfilment of ‘five rights’
  • Provisions of feedback on quality of inputs to aid supplier and contract management
Sales and marketing function
  • Quality, customization and delivery levels that will satisfy customers
  • Fulfillment of promises made to customers; responsiveness to feedback and demands
  • Information on products and delivery schedules for promotion
  • Provision of market research and customer feedback information to influence product specifications and quality management
  • Promises made to customers via marketing communications, which purchasing must contribute to delivering

External Stakeholders

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
  • Corporate tax revenue
  • Healthy level of economic activity
  • Compliance with legislation and regulation
  • Reports and returns
  • Support for community development and employment
  • Power to enforce requirements through legislation, regulation, penalties
  • Control over tax levels and public funding
  • Bargaining power as a large customer or supplier of goods or services
  • Support and guidance for business
Pressure groups (e.g. Greenpeace and interest groups, trade unions)
  • Promotion and increased awareness of a cause or issue (e.g. fair trade, environment)
  • Protection of rights and interests of members
  • Access to information and accountability
  • Sponsorship or donation funding
  • May shape policy
  • Inform and mobilize public and consumer opinion for or against the organization
  • Source of info re: issues and impacts


Community and society at large
  • Access to products and services, employment
  • Product safety
  • Affordability of essential goods and services
  • Socially responsible business and environmental practices
  • Pool of current and potential customers, suppliers and employees
  • Power to mobilize government policy and consumer opinion

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    -


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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