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The Stakeholder Balance Sheet: Profiting from Really Understanding Your Market

ISBN: 978-0-470-74059-0
324 pages
March 2010
The Stakeholder Balance Sheet: Profiting from Really Understanding Your Market (0470740590) cover image


This book provides an as yet unavailable tool, the Stakeholder Balance Sheet, enabling managers within any organisation to unlock the DNA of the market place in which they operate and to measure their effectiveness in understanding their markets and all the key stakeholders operating within them.

This simple tool provides self-testing checklists at the end of each chapter that enables managers to look at stakeholder-sensitive issues in the same way that they might scrutinise financial statements (hence it will not seem alien to most managers). A review of how well your organisation has fared on the questions will tell you how healthy your "balance sheet" is in relation to the topic of each chapter, and it will provide you with the basis for an overall enterprise balance sheet that aggregates the scores you have achieved in each topic area.

Lessons to learn from application of the Stakeholder Balance Sheet are:

  • What appropriate tools are still required to enhance their understanding of the market place, and how these should be utilised
  • How to maximise commercial success through understanding the market place
  • And, find effective ways of being a truly stakeholder-sensitive enterprise

In a nutshell, a genuine understanding of how customers and other stakeholders think, feel and behave offers the essential starting point for any general manager - not just the marketing or sales specialist - seeking to determine the direction of his organisation.

For the purpose of the book, stakeholders are described as: the direct stakeholders in the market place - customers and prospects (including both the key contacts with whom you interface and others who may influence the final decisions made); the internal stakeholders - staff; other external stakeholders - pressure groups, local community, government, intermediaries, banks, etc.

"My 40 years of international business experience would completely endorse this total focus on the stakeholder balance sheet."
Sir Peter Bonfield CBE FREng, Chairman of NXP Supervisory Board and formerly CEO of BT Group plc and ICL plc

"The Stakeholder Balance Sheet is an excellent and highly practical framework...This book is a must-read for decision makers in any organization, regardless of level or function."
Professor Sharan Jagpal, Professor of Marketing, Rutgers Business School & author of Fusion for Profit

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Table of Contents



Introduction: Why this Book?

1. The 9 Point Plan for Sustaining and Growing Your Market  Profitably

2. In the Beginning was … Segmentation!

  1. Why is market segmentation the first step?
  2. So what is successful market segmentation all about?
  3. Successful market segmentation is the starting point for your business and marketing strategy
  4. Targeting individuals and organisations as well as segmenting the market
  5. The executive self-assessment checklist: segmentation

3. Delving into the Mind of the Market – Understanding the Real Stakeholder Drivers

  1. From market drivers to business performance – a step-by-step approach
  2. Identifying the business winners
  3. ‘Back-of-mind’ and ‘front-of-mind’ issues
  4. The role of intangibles
  5. What makes for value in your business?
  6. The executive self-assessment checklist: delving into the mind of the market

4. From Customer Satisfaction and Branding to Loyalty and Attraction

  1. Why customer loyalty is important and why customer satisfaction doesn’t give you the whole picture
  2. Inputimpact analysis of actions taken
  3. Bringing customer opinions to life
  4. The world is a competitive place!
  5. But benchmarking against the competition alone can lead to wasted resources
  6. The performance/equity gap
  7. Comparing Norwegian apples with Italian oranges
  8. The executive self-assessment checklist: from customer satisfaction and branding to loyalty

5. Decision-Making Dynamics

  1. Introduction
  2. Functions/levels of seniority
  3. Roles
  4. Needs, interests and desires
  5. Psycho-cultural environment
  6. Appropriate approaches
  7. Update the database and profile the DMU
  8. The executive self-assessment checklist: decision-making dynamics

6. Staff Motivation and Perceptions

  1. Some introductory thoughts on staff motivation
  2. Staff perceptions: introduction
  3. Are staff in touch with the marketplace?
  4. Are processes and opinions within your organisation aligned?
  5. The executive self-assessment checklist: staff motivation
  6. The executive self-assessment checklist: staff perceptions

7. Who Else should be on your Radar Screen – The Role and Motivation of Other External Stakeholders and Influencers

  1. Introduction: who are other external stakeholders and influencers?
  2. Scenario 1 You wish to assess the impact of influencers on your customers’ attitudes/behaviour
  3. Scenario 2 Some influencers are also your customers
  4. Scenario 3 You wish to enhance your overall standing and business performance
  5. Scenario 4 You are making a major decision or taking an initiative 
  6. Scenario 5 You are engaged in a damage limitation exercise
  7. Managing the (conflicting) demands of different stakeholders
  8. Concluding questions
  9. The executive self-assessment checklist: other external stakeholders and influencers

8. Communicate (and Communicate and Communicate…)

  1. Your communication targets
  2. Corporate communication: introduction
  3. Information about your organisation
  4. Strengthening your corporate brand
  5. Combining knowledge with brand equity
  6. Product/service communication
  7. Effective communication is a two-way process
  8. The executive self-assessment checklist: communication

9. Constant Renewal – Searching for Winning New Product or Service Propositions

  1. Introduction: the impetus for new product or service development
  2. Looking around us: underlying ‘macro’ trends
  3. Critical factors for success: introduction
  4. Internal success factors
  5. External success factors
  6. How do you go about finding out whether or not your new product/service is likely to be successful?
  7. Evaluating your own experience
  8. The executive self-assessment checklist: new products/services

10. An Ongoing Process: Monitoring your Performance

  1. Why monitor your performance
  2. What to monitor
  3. How to monitor
  4. Acting on the results
  5. Identifying and acting on the blockages
  6. The executive self-assessment checklist: monitoring your performance

11. Conclusion:  The 9 Point Plan Revisited

  1. Your stakeholder balance sheet at a glance
  2. And finally … a reminder about the key action areas



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Author Information

Farrokh Suntook has been running his own consultancy and executive coaching service since 2006. The focus of his consultancy is to help clients develop market insights for action planning designed to strengthen their position in the market place.

Prior to this Farrokh had over thirty year's experience, mostly in business development and marketing research consultancy undertaken for a range of blue chip multinational companies. His assignments covered topics ranging from market segmentation and product development to market drivers and customer loyalty. Over the years these topics have also been the subject of articles, international conference papers and in-house seminars and workshops which he has led.

Farrokh has a BSc(Econ) from the London School of Economics and an MBA from the Columbia Business School in New York. He is a member of the CIM Learning & Development faculty.

Dr John A Murphy, Telefonica O2 Professor of Customer Management and Head of Corporate Relations at Manchester Business School, combines the roles of academic and international consultant, specialising in customer management and service quality. He has held a series of senior management positions both in Ireland and the UK.

At Manchester Business School he has established a unique cohort of PhD scholarship students in conjunction with leading UK companies. This is the largest doctoral research group in this specialist area in Europe. He is a regular contributor to the programmes at the MBS Executive Development Centre. He chairs and directs the Customer Management Leadership Group.

John holds four professional fellowships and is a member of the International Academy for Quality, whose members are chosen from the most active protagonists of quality in the world. He is the author of five books, the most recent of which, Converting Customer Value: From Retention to Profit, was published in 2006.

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My 40 years of international business experience would completely endorse this total focus on the stakeholder balance sheet. The managers who get this right will set themselves apart by getting the perfect balance for long term success.”

(Sir Peter Bonfield CBE FREng,Chairman of NXP Supervisory Board and formerly CEO of BT Group plc and ICL plc)

This thoughtful and innovative crossover book enhances our understanding of the complex processes that link many aspects of business strategy, with a specific focus on how best organizations can understand the stakeholders in their marketplace so as to enhance long-run financial performance. Utilizing a comprehensive checklist of questions at the end of each chapter, The Stakeholder Balance Sheet is an excellent and highly practical framework for understanding these processes, monitoring the key dimensions of market performance, identifying areas for improvement in the organization, and modifying strategy to improve performance. This book is a must-read for decision makers in any organization, regardless of level or function.”

(Professor Sharan Jagpal, Rutgers Business School, and author of Fusion for Profit: How Marketing and Finance Can Work Together to Create Value)

Suntook and Murphy have distilled their wealth of experience into a book which makes useful practical suggestions for action which can improve company effectiveness. The book addresses the complexity of customers' decision making and suggests a systematic approach to marketing which allows an organisation to check itself against best standards.”

(Andrew Wright, Managing Director, Syngas & GTL Johnson Matthey Catalysts)

All business leaders should read this book. For too long businesses have partially focused on one or two stakeholders such as customers or employees. This book provides a refreshing insight into the complementary relevance of all stakeholders.”

(Ronan Dunne, Chief Executive, Telefonica, O2 UK)

Focusing on customer satisfaction alone is insufficient to achieve business goals in today’s complex marketplace. This must-read book provides managers with an actionable methodology to manage both internal and external stakeholders to build the 21st century brand.”

(Professor Sandeep Krishnamurthy, Associate Director of Graduate Services, University of Washington)

An excellent book for directors reflecting on their organisation, or managers starting out in their career and wanting to get it right. The unique measurement tool introduced in the book provides an overall enterprise balance sheet relative to each stakeholder.”

(Mark Adams, CEO Virgin Healthcare )

"A validation of the centrality of stakeholder theory in modern business management" (Ethical Corporation Magazine, November 2008)

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