INT 049: Communicating your Value to Stakeholders

LaDawn Townsend, Linda Yates

As the CEO and founder of The VOS Group, a training group that delivers strategy to organizations to increase their profitability, LaDawn Townsend has had extensive experience communicating her value to stakeholders. And in today’s episode of IntHerrupt, she joins Linda to explain how you communicate your value regardless of your role in an organization.

LaDawn’s professional journey was unique.

  • She entered a corporate job right out of high school, managing a team in finance.
  • Twenty years later, LaDawn decided this wasn’t what she wanted to do with her life and needed a change.
  • She worked until 2014, when the company downsized. Forced to find a new source of income, she became an entrepreneur. 

She struggled in the initial stages of entrepreneurship.

  • LaDawn had two goals: have a paycheck and help business owners have a sustainable foundation (so they would never have to lay people off.)
  • Because she wasn’t eligible for funding opportunities, she moved to Austin, Texas, to work another job and generate money for her business. 
  • She worked 70-hour weeks, finding time before and after her job to get her business off the ground.
  • Since that time, her firm has blossomed into a profitable business with international clients.

What does value mean to LaDawn?

  • The number one responsibility of a business owner is to run a financially fit business. 
  • There are three fundamental aspects of value:
    • See a bigger vision of what’s possible for your clients. 
    • Have courage. 
    • Talk about your message. 
  • When other people and clients can talk about the value and presence you offer, you know your message is coming across successfully.
  • When you can demonstrate expertise, you’ll be able to close deals.  Especially with women executives and business owners, we tend to be challenged by asking for business. 
  • Value isn’t just one statement or a mission statement; it is a concept and a pillar of the foundational beliefs of your business.

Internal value is just as significant as external (if not more so.)

  • Recently, LaDawn realized she needed to value herself more. She needed to take time for things that fuel her.
  • When you value yourself, you can show up better for your clients and your coworkers.

Who are the stakeholders?

  • There are three different levels of stakeholders: the decision-maker, the influencer, and the silent stakeholder.
  • While the first two are obvious, the silent stakeholder is anyone you wouldn’t initially expect or be aware of who has an impact—for example, an employee who’s worked at the company for 20+ years.

What you should do when a stakeholder doesn’t see your value:

  • Use data to support your claims, and find an influencer who the decision-maker will listen to. 
  • Take your ego out of the relationship. Focus on the project and goal you were hired for, and seek to help others.
  • If you encounter a negative stakeholder, build relationships with other stakeholders and influencers to learn how to communicate in a way that will be productive and make them advocates for yourself.

To contact LaDawn, you can connect with her on LinkedIn or visit her company website. Do you have stories to tell? Connect with Linda to share them. This podcast is produced by TSE Studios. Check out other podcasts by TSE Studios, including this episode’s sponsor, The Sales Evangelist, helping new and struggling sellers close more deals and achieve their sales goals. Subscribe to the IntHERrupt Podcast so you won’t miss a single show. Find us on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, and Stitcher. Audio created by Ryan Rasmussen Productions.

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