Without a stakeholder map, you are essentially traveling without awareness of your environment. With a WayMark stakeholder map, you will know where the opposition, potholes, and roadblocks lurk, as well as the paths of least resistance, cooperation and early successes. Getting to where you want to be starts with knowing where you are. Your progress on any multi-stakeholder project will be accelerated and sharpened by owning a stakeholder map. Your journey starts quicker with a WayMark map.


Making decisions without knowing your stakeholders and their underlying interests puts your entire partnership at risk. Without situational awareness, making the best decision is almost impossible. A precise mapping of stakeholders and interests informs you to where the depth of support rests and alerts you to where the boundaries lie. A WayMark maps gives you the information necessary to make data-driven, smart decisions.


Stasis and gridlock are the result of getting on a path without having the information of the terrain and risks involved. Knowing where concentrated disagreement, resistance, and minority-led special interests lie, is as important as knowing where the opportunities exist. Increasing visibility of "blind sides" and avoiding dead ends represent tangible savings in time and resources. A WayMark map will let you clearly see and address the potential hazards before you start.

The Journey of Alignment

The process of stakeholder alignment, especially when your project lives within a complex and dynamic situation, is indeed a journey. It starts with understanding your strategic intent, the stakeholders' roles and their interests. 

And it evolves as strategic plans are implemented, progress is measured, and as new stakeholders and interests emerge. Through analytics, visualizations and periodic check and adjust sessions, the WayMark process will help you navigate your path. WayMark Systems believes that understanding and embracing your stakeholders' shared and separate interests will ultimately put your project on the best course to success.

You can read a case study how using the stakeholder alignment process uncovered several areas of concern in a Green Energy study done in 2011.

Well-Specified Stakeholders

Specifying the key stakeholders with the right granularity is vital for both analytics and action. WayMark has several decades of experience in identifying stakeholders and their roles. We also partner with domain experts and thought leaders on every project to ensure that hidden and latent stakeholders are accounted for.

Identified Interests

Interests are not the same as positions -- they are the underlying hopes, fears, desires and goals that are “at stake”. WayMark's leading consultants understand how to identify these key interests and frame them appropriately. With every stakeholder alignment, there are also key 'gaps' between pairs of competing interests that can be explored to ensure early success and communicate common goals.

Mapping Tools

WayMark's analytics and visualizations create the maps that enable you to see which interests are widely shared among stakeholders, as well as how much variance there is. Points of alignment represent low hanging fruit -- opportunities where you can move ahead with confidence.

The WayMark maps also enable you to see which interests are in debate or gaps that are widely perceived. Misaligned interests represent potential barriers to progress, The ability to see the nature of the disconnects and size of the gaps is what powers you with the necessary information to make key decisions.

    WayMark Services
  • Baseline Maps or Repeated Tracking Progress

    Strategic Intent, stakeholder identification, interest mapping and analytics, including session facilitation.

  • Shared Vision of Success

    Building on points of alignment, facilitation support for generating a concise, compelling shared vision of success.

  • Chartered Forums

    Enabling new forms of interaction among stakeholders, well specified charters ensure that new forums have a clear mission, vision, roles and responsibilities, and operations. Ensure everyone is on the same page and reduce disruption at leadership transitions.

  • Executive Education

    Build capability across your organization and the broader systems in which you are embedded -- leadership by influence, more than by authority rests on clear situational awareness knowing the stakeholders and the interests.

Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld

Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld is one of the founders of WayMark Systems, enabling NSF-funded innovation to enter broad use. He has deep experience leading large-scale systems change, including serving as a lead consultant to the UAW and Ford in the development and implementation of the front-line, knowledge-driven Quality Operating System that enabled Ford to go from near last to first in best-in-class quality. Joel has worked with government agencies on transformational initiatives in Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Panama, Poland, South Africa, the United States, and other nations. He is a co-author of leading books on Strategic Negotiations (Harvard Business School Press, 1994), Knowledge-Driven Work (Oxford University Press, 1998), Lean Enterprise Value (Palgrave, 2002), Organizational Learning Systems (Oxford University Press, 2005), and related topics. Joel is a professor in the School of Labor and Employment Relations in the University of Illinois, a senior research scientists in the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and a visiting professor in the Work and Organizations Faculty at the University of Sydney.

Pat Canavan

Pat Canavan, a WayMark Systems founder, has expertise in organization design, leadership selection and development, succession planning, corporate governance and globalization provided in a partnering consultative style. Bringing the lessons from a career in high technology, experience with building Boards of Directors, creating and implementing regional and global strategies in Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific, and recruiting and developing leadership teams for a Fortune 50 company are all brought to the practice. In addition, have served as head of Human Resources and the CIO of a Fortune 50 firm.

Barbara Mittleman

Barbara B. Mittleman, M.D. is the Chief Strategy Officer at WayMark Systems. She is also a rheumatologist / immunologist with experience in basic and clinical research in autoimmunity. She spent 22 years at the NIH, finishing her career there as Director of the Public Private Partnership Program with the NIH's Office of the Director/Office of Science Policy. In that position she developed policy and practice to enable NIH to meet its mission more effectively by partnering with public and private sector entities to further biomedical research and improvements in public health. In that position she engaged in collaborative scholarship around mechanisms and principles of effective multi-sector engagements. She left NIH in 2013 to become the Clinical VP at Nodality, Inc, a platform biotechnology company.