Phil Dibbs
Phil Dibbs

Member Article

G4S - Very poor stakeholder management

Imagine that over half of your turnover came from one client. You would treat that client with respect and ensure that your customer service and stakeholder management was of the highest possible standard. You would ensure that they featured prominently in your business plans and that the relationship was nurtured.

Apparently not if you are G4S! The biggest security company in the world, with a UK income of £1.8bn, has its main customer the UK government. Some £1bn of its UK income is derived from government departments. And yet, it is quite apparent that CEO Nick Buckles and his organisation have little or no regard for their customer and had only a poor grasp of what was required in order to properly staff the 2012 London Olympic Games.

As the London Games open over 3,500 military personnel have been deployed to plug the gaps in G4S’s provision. In an appearance in front of the home affairs select committee on Olympic security, Buckles was forced to admit to that the affair had been a humiliating shambles.

I have never seen a Chief Executive with such a poor grasp of business management or with such an obvious disregard for his customer.

Stakeholder management is a key element of good business management and you disregard it at your peril.

I always encourage my clients to look back at projects and events in their businesses and to undertake detailed analysis of lessons learnt - in project management jargon a “post implementation review”. This information is so valuable it just cannot be ignored. It is a critical element of business improvement and good management behaviour.

Once any weaknesses have been identified it is incredibly important to work to eradicate them from your business, or to create ways to avoid them in future. Everyone makes mistakes, but successful people and businesses rarely repeat the same one!

Of course you don’t just learn from your own mistakes. It is far less risky to learn from other peoples’. A really effective way to do this is to ensure that you have an effective network outside your business. This will enable you to stay abreast with developments in your sector and region. Very often your peer group will, between them, have amassed hundreds of years of experience. So long as you are not in direct competition they are normally happy to help.

Another very effective way to take advantage of others’ experience is to employ non-executive directors. Ideally these will be people who you retain because they have experience of an aspect of business with which you need guidance. They will normally have a proven track record and will, along the way, have seen very many mistakes and have learnt from them.

It is crucial for business owners to learn from mistakes and in my experience this is best done using either a non executive or other external business person or advisor to help them examine anything that may have gone wrong in their enterprise. That external viewpoint is invaluable when it comes to helping people to break down the ‘incident’ and really unpick the events - almost with fresh eyes.

Phil Dibbs


This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Phil Dibbs .

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