????????????????Higher Ambition leaders believe that high-commitment, high-trust relationships with stakeholders not only reflect their values but are also the best route to long-term, sustainable economic success. These stakeholders — customers, associates, suppliers, investors, and communities — are each critical resources for value creation. Those leaders and organizations that excel at earning trust, building loyalty, and generating enthusiasm among the full range of stakeholders are more likely to uncover opportunities, overcome challenges, stimulate innovation, and achieve lasting success.

There is an art and craft to engaging each of an organization’s stakeholders, as well as to achieving a “simultaneous solve” that reconciles conflicting demands and delivers extraordinary value to each. Many initiatives to engage one stakeholder group involve engaging others. For example, it is difficult to engage customers without engaging the associates who are the interface with those customers (see the Service-Profit Chain link below). However, each endeavor has a particular objective and point of departure and so we have tagged posts, case studies, and other resources for stakeholder engagement as follows:

  • Customers

  • Associates (employees, contractors, etc.)

  • Value Chain Partners (suppliers and others)

  • Community

  • Investors


Search on any of the above terms or simply “stakeholders” to find assets and insights to draw upon as you pursue your organization’s Higher Ambition. Some suggestions to get you started are below.

Consider starting with these:

A brief video introduction to Stakeholder Theory with R. Edward Freeman

Driving Strategic Change: Relational Contracts, Purpose and Sustainability by Rebecca Henderson and Kate Isaacs. The authors ask, “On what grounds might we believe that a purpose that has some normative commitment, such as Apple’s commitment to “delight” its customers, or Southwest’s avowed purpose of providing extraordinary customer service might make it easier to change the firm? The organizational literature offers two broad streams of explanation as to why firms that adopt a normatively driven purpose may be more successful than their rivals.”

In this brief video, Harvard Business School professor James Heskett explains the basics of the Service-Profit Chain, an approach used by companies such as Southwest Airlines and Ritz-Carlton Hotels to build profitability through improved engagement of and between employees and customers.