"Finance business partnering perceptions - Do you know what your stakeholders think of you?"
And if you do, why should you care?
Well, let me and my little pumpkin tell you why.
The Pumpkin Perception
So what has my pumpkin friend here got to do with what your stakeholders think of you?
Well, it's all about perception. Especially pumpkin perception.
I was in a fruit and veg shop with my wife on the weekend and she said, "Alan, do you like "pumpkin soup?"
I went, "No!."
She said, "Alan, have you ever eaten pumpkin soup?"
I was like, "Nope."
But it's how I perceive them.
I don't like the look of them, I don't like the smell of them, and there's something about them being used as faces in Halloween… I don't want something that's had its face carved out in my soup.
That's my perception of the pumpkin. God only knows what the pumpkin thinks of me.
Why does that matter?
The reason this is important for what your stakeholders think of you is because how they perceive you may not necessarily be logical or it might not be how you think they perceive you.
So let's look at two characters, right?
One you perceive as very smart and one you perceive as not so smart.
If both of those characters gave you the same idea, well, you're going to be much more receptive of the idea coming from the person who you perceive to be smart.
The person you think is not so smart, as soon as they start talking, you're probably already going, "Well, what rubbish are they going to come up with now?"
It's why perception is so important.
Figuring out your stakeholders' perceptions
It's why you need to be aware of it and aware of what your stakeholders think of you.
So how can you subtly and easily find out if they perceive you to be adding value to them or not?
Well, there's two simple questions you can ask.
One: "What's the most valuable thing I've done for you," you know, "In the last month on the reports or the analysis I provide you?"
And then the second question is: "What's the least valuable thing I've provided to you?"
How this affects their perception
So now they can say freely if something was really terrible.
They have the license to say: "Well, this was the least valuable."
If you continually ask those questions, the value you add them is going to increase.
They're also going to perceive you as someone who's open to feedback and willing to learn and who wants to help them do a better job.
That’s someone they’ll want to listen to.
So folks, do you know how your stakeholders perceive you and how do you go about changing it?