Maximizing Stakeholder Insights to Power Connections that Matter

Professional membership organizations are challenged to constantly deliver added value to their members, partners and other key stakeholders. Chief among these challenges in today’s post-pandemic environment is shifting the member and partner value proposition to be – one that delivers a meaningful experience and keeps everyone positively engaged. After all, it’s these stakeholders whose interests are served by the organization, and who enable the organization to live out its mission and increase impact.

The Executive Leadership Council (ELC) is a national membership organization made up of current and former Black senior executives from Fortune 1000 and Global 500 companies. For more than 30 years the ELC has worked to establish an inclusive business leadership pipeline – creating channels of opportunity for Black executives to positively impact business culture and local communities. The ELC is committed to advancing the role and contributions of Black executives and preparing the next generation of Black talent through a series of initiatives, events and philanthropic endeavors.

On behalf of its constituency, the ELC established a focused goal to preserve its esteemed brand and maintain its reputation as an innovative leader.

To ensure that the ELC is positioned to achieve this objective and confirm that its principal stakeholders – members, sponsors and program participants – are gaining the maximum benefit from their participation with the organization, its leadership engaged Luminas to help identify the current, and potential, value delivered to each distinct group.  The organization completed a thorough analysis of the unique stakeholder types to explore the following dynamics in light of changing market and societal conditions:

  • Existing offerings that will continue to deliver differential value to stakeholders
  • New offerings that have the potential to deliver additional stakeholder value
  • Current offerings that are at risk of reducing stakeholder value
  • Potential headwinds that may challenge the organization long term

The ELC also sought to gain:

  • Insight into their differential value creation
  • Validated guidance to support the development of a strategic plan and corresponding implementation actions

The engagement concentrated on the 13 discrete stakeholder profiles identified by the ELC; and for each of these delivered the following:

  • An assessment of the differential value proposition
  • Key strategic insights
  • Recommendations for improvement
  • Action plans for successful implementation

For the purpose of this case story, we will center primarily on three core Member types:  Senior Leadership, Legacy and Entrepreneurs.

Watch our video case story featuring key leaders from The Executive Leadership Council.

Understand & Measure

To help the ELC establish a thorough, baseline perspective on their offerings that deliver the most value to each member type, the Luminas team launched the engagement by conducting an internal assessment — facilitating working sessions with ELC leadership and staff members across various departments. This process generated a comprehensive, inhouse point-of-view on the differential value that the ELC believed it was delivering to its stakeholders. Among the strategic questions Luminas asked were

  • What should the ELC continue?
  • What should the ELC expand (or not)?
  • What is the greatest headwind the ELC may face in the mid-to-long term?

Having leadership and staff take a step back from their day-to-day functions to discuss and align on what differential value they were delivering to various stakeholders was a beneficial exercise; one that many nonprofit and membership organizations find incredibly helpful.

Determining the ELC’s leadership and staff viewpoint of the differential value being delivered to its members also involved comparing its offerings to each stakeholder’s next best alternative.

This initial stage in the process resulted in the team’s agreement that the organization delivers differential value to its members across several areas, including:

  • Peer-to-peer relationship development and access (Senior Leader Members)
  • Leading the charge for a more inclusive business environment (Legacy Members)
  • Access to ELC members and business partners (Entrepreneur Members)

Validate

With the leadership and staff’s internal perspective established, next Luminas conducted individual interviews with representative members of each of the 13 individual stakeholder groups.

The ELC gained genuine insights from these validation discussions – confirming the offerings that stakeholders recognized as delivering the most, and least, differential value versus other alternatives; as well as discovering areas of value not initially considered by the ELC leadership and staff. For instance, while Entrepreneur Members do value access and collaboration with business partners and key decision makers, they also confirmed that they highly regard the prestige that their ELC membership delivers. Similarly, Legacy Members verified that pioneering for a more inclusive business environment is an important function of the organization, but added that advocacy and community actually represent the greatest contribution of value.

Lastly, the ELC was delighted to discover that by-in-large its hypothesis was reasonably accurate for its members who hold Senior Leadership positions (see Figure 1 below).

“The keen insights provided by Luminas shaped our approach to refining the ELC member value proposition.  As a former for-profit company leader, I have a great appreciation for the rigorous and data-driven approach that enabled us to make more confident decisions.  The truly out-side in approach to strategy development and powerful stakeholder-driven insights bring fresh air to the nonprofit world.”

 — Lori Walker, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, The Executive Leadership Council

Improve

By comparing both the qualitative and quantitative stakeholder feedback to the ELC’s internal perspective of the differential value it provides, Luminas helped the organization to identify and develop a list of strategic opportunities that have the potential to create mutual benefit in the future and help to maintain its position in the market as the premier organization for senior black executives in business. For example, among the Senior Leadership, Legacy and Entrepreneur Members, they are establishing systems to

  • help members to foster connections within their member group and across member groups;
  • double down on the mission to nurture and amplify Black excellence and leadership in business; and
  • assessing the future growth of the organization (the criteria for and size of the membership).

“As a new CEO of the organization, what a gift I received to accelerate my onboarding and understanding of the key priorities for ELC members and other key stakeholders.  The clarity of strategic insights, based on a deep understanding of stakeholder input, provided a great input to the development of priorities for the organization.  The work with Luminas enabled our leadership team to provide clear and consistent messaging about our direction — both the what and the why!” 

-- Michael C. Hyter, President and CEO, The Executive Leadership Council

Results and Recommendations

As a result of the SVX observations, the ELC gained internal alignment and the confidence necessary to make decisions and set priorities that will help the organization to capture greater long-term value and better serve members going forward:

By taking the time to engage with its Program Participants and Sponsors, and specific Member types — and evaluate the collective feedback with Luminas — the ELC acquired significant insights that identified what they should continue to provide, what should be added and what could be improved upon.

Validated stakeholder insights help organizations to clarify, establish strategic priorities, and make more confident decisions that can result in capturing greater stakeholder value. Luminas leveraged the input from the ELC stakeholders to help the organization recognize the positive impact of taking an outside-in approach to its stakeholder relationships.  This strategy allowed the ELC to identify the two essential factors that create differential value within its member community: meaningful connections and effective communication.

For professional membership organizations, human services nonprofits, foundations and industry/trade organizations the Luminas Stakeholder Value Xcelerator (SVX®) supports the development of growth strategies and plans for key targets, market segments and new offerings—providing specific recommendations based on validated stakeholder insights and competitive intelligence captured through the process.

Continue        Keep doing what’s delivering differential value today.

Fix                   Adjust the offerings that are eroding stakeholder value today.

Enhance         Make improvements that can deliver even more differential value.

Expedite         Introduce current offerings that provide immediate impact to the stakeholder.

Create             Develop and implement the highest priority and mutually profitable new offerings.

Get Started

Your organization can begin improving its winning score with stakeholders by taking the following steps:

  • Develop the key strategic priorities to shape the organization’s organic growth.
  • Identify the priority major stakeholders, market segments or new products/services that are most critical to your organization’s organic growth.
  • Select an initial group of stakeholders to engage in an initial introduction of SVX™.
  • Select a cross-functional internal team and begin developing your perspective on the differential value provided for the selected stakeholders—we’re here to help.

To request more information on how Luminas helps leading brands make more confident business decisions click here.

“Through this effort, Luminas was able to highlight key strategic opportunities that will build on successes and take the Northwestern Mutual Black Founder Accelerator program to even greater heights.”

Abim Kolawole, VP, Chief Audit Executive, Northwestern Mutual

“Luminas has had a definite impact on the way our sales team thinks about how to sell value. We wouldn’t be where we are today if we hadn’t gone through the process with them and gained such meaningful insights.”

Heather Singler, Global Commercial Director, Eastman

“The whole team was engaged in the work with Luminas, it was impressive. As a result, we discovered areas where we can grow, become more nimble and think strategically about our business. We are now better prepared to partner with our customers and manage through big changes.

Jeff Morris, Senior Vice President, Protective Fabrics, Milliken & Company

“Our customers were very appreciative that we took the time to ask the right questions about what is important to their business. Luminas helped us to create a more customer centric organization and to focus on what they value.”

Steve Yager, Vice President, Customer Experience, Cisco