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A simple lesson in stakeholder engagement

So today another call comes in from a research company wanting to know what I think of the communications I recieve from a large corporate client once well known for CSR but that I haven’t heard from for years.

(Their communications have been non-existant since they sacked lots of people, including in CSR, a while back, in this case)

I declined to speak with them.

Not just because I don’t like outsourced stakeholder engagement.

It was because the research company took the wrong appoach.

“Would you have ten minutes to speak with us?”, they asked me.

“No”, I said. I was busy.

Not too busy to blog. But too busy to speak with somone filling in a survey form.

If they had just said, straight out: “We represent company XX. How well do they communicate with you?” then I would have told them what I thought, and they would have got their ten minutes (which in reality would probably have been 15-20).

Not that I would have been able to tell them much, mind you. But that’s not the point: I might have been someone who could have been helpful to them.

This point about the wrong question, and the ramifications for research, only ocurred to me after I had hung up feeling busy and a bit impolite.

Ask the wrong question, you’ll get an unhelpful answer. At best. At worse, you’ll go down the wrong path. That might be costly.

When it comes to understanding your environment, Drucker, as with most things, had it right.

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