Talk to any MBA and it’s bound to slip out - stakeholders.

September 1, 2021


5min read

Sam Frentzel-Beyme


Customers vs. Stakeholders

The Short of It

  • Words can take you in the wrong direction.
  • The term stakeholders can take you away from where the focus should be.
  • Using the word "customer" helps you focus on real needs and those will to pay others to solve them.

Talk to any MBA and it’s bound to slip out - stakeholders. That anonymous amalgam of interested parties that are a critical aspect in the planning of any typical corporate strategy. The problem is that the word takes you in the wrong direction.

Thinking about stakeholders means thinking about those has a vested stake in the outcome of the organization. And this is going to be a long list, especially with companies today having so many moving pieces. The problem is that focusing on the stakeholders gets you thinking about inward tactics and with so many variable this can eat up a tremendous amount of time.

The better word is customer.

Regardless of the type of business you’re in, you have a customer - someone who pays you because you provide them with a return on the dollars they pay you. Organizations exist to serve customers and since customer demands are always changing, the most important focus should be on understanding what those shifting demands are and how to meet them.

Related Articles