Many organizations and individuals focus on satisfying the customer, which is of course one of the basic rules of business. After all, no customer equals no business. However the majority of us do not have a comprehensive look at all stakeholders. Stakeholders include not only customers, but suppliers, partners, customers' suppliers, policy makers, our own management, investors and the list goes on.

If you are a non-profit school your students and their parents are your customers, and you ought to make sure the services they are receiving are top notch quality. However your donors are also key stakeholders. They have high interest in what you do, otherwise they would not have donated their hard earned dollars, and they have high power in supporting your mission. Maybe even more than the customer. Does you school stay in continuous touch with the donors? Does it constantly solicit feedback from them? Do they have representation at your various governance bodies?

One useful tool to analyze stakeholders is to look at their power and their interest, we call that a power/interest grid. Power can be mapped on one dimension and interest on another, as shown in the top figure.

Another tool is a matrix linking stakeholder groups and their interests to an entity's capabilities allowing the identification of value gap to be addressed. It allows us to align our capabilities to our stakeholder's interest and needs.

Author's Bio: 

Ayman Nassar is a technology management and leadership practitioner, trainer, consultant, author and volunteer at various public service organizations. He is an IBM systems engineer and enterprise/business architect at IBM’s Global Business Service unit, responsible for ensuring the application of systems engineering methodologies and concepts to complex software systems projects. I have managed a portfolio of dozens of projects valued around $250 million over the past decade. Ayman also providing training and consulting services to entrepreneurs, small businesses and non-profits. He can be reached at his website