Has the Scottish referendum just reinforced the need for proper stakeholder engagement?


With so much media coverage of the imminent referendum, it is inevitable that people’s actions (or lack of them) will come under close scrutiny. With chants of “Vote yes” equally matched by chants of “Vote no” the likely outcome remains unclear, but the attempts to win votes hasn’t diminished. However, it is this element of the process that has sparked my interest.

At the end of last week, the three main party leaders of the UK took a last minute flight up to Edinburgh in the hope of offering more in the event of a no vote. What were the main themes of the day?  Well….

“Too little too late”

“So now you’ve decided to come up to Scotland and make new promises; why not before?”

“Why engage now?”

This political battle may be one of the most important in the UK’s history but this display of unity has probably come too little too late.

This ‘change’ has been in the offing for years. So what strategy of engagement has each side had in order to gain support and ultimately win votes? How much time have they taken in the preceding months and years to hold honest and open engagement with all stakeholders, laying out clear plans and policies that provide choice, clarity and understanding?  How will their engagement with the public impact on their race for success to make their mark in history?

If you truly want to make change then you need to get your stakeholders on board, and take them on the journey with you. You need to share with them every step of the process and make sure they understand why, when, how and why.  Engaging will help you to achieve a respectful, meaningful relationship and with that will come the outcomes you desire.



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