The Half Wheel & The Pyramid: The Pyramid (Step 3 of 3)

Please note: a new version of this exercise is now available: Using the Spectrogram for Stakeholder Mapping and Power Analysis.

Click here for Step 1: Stakeholders  or here for Step 2: The Half Wheel

Now it’s time to build a pyramid using the post-it notes along with the annotations showing where they lie on the half wheel. Before you start, you need to work out: what is power? And: who has power in this situation? The ultimate question is: Who has the power to make the change that you seek? This may be one individual, who will make a final decision, sign a law or change an existing policy: the head of a government committee or a regulatory body, say. It might also be the head of a corporation or the chairperson of a governing board. Participants should identify who can make the actual decision that’s necessary, the entity or person who would have to say ‘yes’ or approve a law in order for the desired change to happen.

This person or entity should already be on the list of stakeholders, but if they are not, you should make a post-it note for them and put it on the half-wheel, noting where they fall on the wheel.  Add a ‘P’ for ‘power’ to the post-it note, too.


Now the participants can remove the post-it notes from the half-wheel, and, with a fresh sheet of paper, create a Pyramid, with the stakeholder who has the power to bring about the desired change at the top. Directly below them, they’ll put the stakeholders who have a direct connection to the stakeholder with power, and directly below them will go the stakeholders who are connected to them… participants should place all their post-it notes in this way.

This may not form the most perfect pyramid, but the participants should now be able to see who THE PRIORITY STAKEHOLDERS ARE.

Look at the powerful stakeholder at the top of the pyramid. Is this person or entity an Opponent, a Neutral Party or an Ally?

If they are an Ally, you are in good shape.

If they are an Opponent, you have some work to do. Getting them to do something they are opposed to is hard work. You’ll need to look at the stakeholders below them in the pyramid and consider tactics that will reach these people and persuade them to influence the person at the top.

Another, optional, step at this point would be for the participants to invert the pyramid by putting themselves at the top and then putting the stakeholders they have direct relationships with below themselves and proceed as before, in order more clearly to see their path to the stakeholder with power.

More exercises on influencing stakeholders will appear on Fabriders in the near future.

Just a note: This is a simplified version of power analysis, and there are certainly many more robust or complex methods. If this exercise seems too simple for your purposes, you may want to look at one of these resources:

Got a campaigning exercise you want to share with me?  Either add a comment here or email me at Dirk (at)