Ceylon Tobacco’s Michael Koest offers valuable insights into stakeholder management at CIM CEO Break

Wednesday, 29 March 2017 00:11 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

IN-1.1Presenting the first CIM CEO Breakfast Forum for 2017, the Chartered Institute of Marketing Sri Lanka organised the forum in March 2017 at the Hilton Colombo Residences. The gathering was addressed by Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Michael Koest, with the objective to provide insights to the participants to build and maintain stakeholder relationships in their line of work and to develop their ability to engage with diverse stakeholders across boundaries. 

Welcoming all those present, CIM Sri Lanka President Asanga Ranasinghe stressed on the importance of forums of this nature for the corporate world as it brings together marketing leaders of the country and provides an avenue to develop the marketing fraternity and also to develop young marketers. Listening to this well-respected and eminent personality, with a wealth of experience across many countries were top business leaders, CEOs, CIM fellow members and senior corporate executives.

“Stakeholder management has no right or wrong and raising awareness what stakeholder management is important as it is well embed in the way you think and do business,” said Koest.

Using case studies and practical examples he likened the skill as a leadership capability to be used on a daily basis. “It is also a leadership skill, that all of us have to demonstrate on a day to day basis in order to perform in our jobs in general,” he noted.

Koest advised the audience to Identify who the stakeholders are, set clear objectives and a clear methodology on approach to engagement.” He also noted the importance of Navigating in complex human interaction whereby there is no toolset or techniques and how stakeholders cover the whole value chain. 

According to Koest, a key skill in stakeholder management is similar to an ‘echo in the room’ where direct access to stakeholders is not available but only indirectly. Thus the key skill to influence the stakeholder is to go around and influence the influencers so that the influencer can influence the individual concerned.

In conclusion he cited ‘Three golden rules of stakeholder management’ which is also universally applicable. Koest explained that Rule 1 asks key questions as in ‘What do you want the stakeholders to think, feel, do’ and equipped with this understanding ‘Make sure the stakeholder does think, feel, and do by your engagement. Rule 2 was to ‘Walk in their shoes’ more in line with an understanding of the person you are dealing with. He emphasised the need to ‘Understand who they are.’ Rule 3 was to ‘Go deeper and also understand where they are at’. Speaking further Koest emphasised the importance of the three key elements; interaction, communication and interpersonal skills in stakeholder management. 

A vibrant question and answer session followed where participants were further enlightened on the topic. The vote of thanks was delivered by CIM Sri Lanka Vice Chair Amal Fernando, while tokens of appreciation were presented by Asanga Ranasinghe.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing UK is the world’s largest professional body for marketing. CIM Sri Lanka is the first international branch of CIM UK comprising the largest number of members, both professional and students of CIM outside the UK. The regional institute has always campaigned for greater recognition and excellence in the marketing profession in Sri Lanka, through education, training and professional development.