August 16, 2023
For Organisations

Unflatten your stakeholders with the Stakeholder Onion

Successful management of stakeholders helps you to achieve ambitious goals, and builds trust around you

What is the Stakeholder Onion? 

This tool allows us to brainstorm who our stakeholders are at different levels of the project.

Layers further from the core have more indirect influence and impact on your success, while layers closer to the core have more direct influence and impact.

It encompasses stakeholders of varying impact and influence levels, which means that we can map out all the stakeholders we can conceive of, and prepare better to get their buy-in.

It is also used as starting point to figuring out how to prioritise stakeholder buy-in.

Lack of buy-in at every stage is an issue

  • Lack of buy-in from senior executives can doom a project from the start.
  • Lack of buy-in from middle managers prevents them from generating enthusiasm for the change among those they manage
  • Lack of buy-in from the project team causes delays in the timeline.
  • Lack of buy-in from employees on the front line can disrupt adoption and create long-term obstacles.

Having many stakeholders can make managing them a complex task. Thus, it is important to develop an effective and repeatable approach to stakeholder management.


  1. Useful for Any Rank or Function
  2. Comprehensive Stakeholder Mapping
  3. Facilitates Relationship Building


  1. Strategic Planning and Decision-Making
  2. Risk Mitigation and Issue Resolution
  3. Creating an effective Communication Strategy


  1. Complexity for Organisations with Complex Stakeholder Networks
  2. Resource intensiveness
  3. Dynamic Nature of Stakeholders

Watch it in action

Watch a short snippet of one of our coaches introducing the framework.

What other managers are saying

"(I realised that) in my project right now, the stakeholder buy-in I find challenging to get is between the Team and the Senior Executives layer, with some variations but overall the senior layer is harder to align on vision with."
"This framework helps with identifying the stakeholder/function where the biggest impact of that proposed change is going to be for an easier transition."
"When there are unclear boundaries or ownership of projects, (it becomes important) to figure out who is actually a decider and who is providing opinions."

Apply the Stakeholder Onion framework today

The Stakeholder Onion can be used in different ways - for a project, for a team, and even to understand your relationship with others in an organisation.

Download our toolkit to gain access to all the resources you need to apply the stakeholder onion. Including the following tools, designed specifically for managers and leaders.

  • The indicators of getting vs not getting buy-in from your stakeholders
  • A template to diagnose challenges with an upcoming project
  • Guided reflection to attain buy-in from a specific stakeholder

More Resources

For Teams
Delegate for growth with the Eisenhower Matrix
Use the Eisenhower Matrix to help you prioritise your tasks and stretch your direct reports in the process
For Teams
NewCampus Facilitation Model for team discussions
Facilitation can seem like a daunting skill to perfect, but acting on three core principles will help ensure that any group conversation is meaningful and productive