Stakeholder Alignment Model


A key to achieving excellence is understanding who the stakeholders are, what their expectations are, how well their expectations are being met, and adjusting to meet their expectations.

The Stakeholder Alignment Model is a dynamic three-step model that illustrates how individuals, groups, and teams can use a process to align the work they do to the organization. It includes:

  1. Understanding stakeholder/decision-maker needs, demonstrated by the overlapping Customer, Employee, and Owner/Administrator (CEO) circles in the center of the model.
  2. Realizing that individuals, groups, or organizations involve:
  • expectations and learning 
  • measurement and feedback 
  • accountability, as demonstrated by the dynamic arrows.
  1. Illustrating that how Cornell staff and faculty work, collaborate, and partner with each other matters. The long-standing Cornell values commit each employee to demonstrate: collegiality, integrity, initiative, excellence, civility, and stewardship.

The Stakeholder Alignment Model: A Closer Look

Understanding Stakeholders

The model defines stakeholders broadly to include customers to whom the group exchanges a service, employees within the work group involved in the strategic plan or continuous improvement effort, and the university administrators (provost, deans, vice presidents, directors). This model visually represents how a group is doing and is adding value to the organization. The goal of the model is to increase the degree to which the three circles overlap. The CEO process includes measuring:

  • What customers value via customer surveys and related scattergrams and gap analysis
  • What employees value via climate checks, 360-degree feedback and supervisor and team report cards
  • What owners/administrators value via the right few lead and lag business indicators - budgets, productivity reports, quantitative status reports with projections, and benchmarking
  • Improvements based on the results or a commitment to continuous improvement for excellence


Expectations: Cornell’s Commitment to Ezra’s Founding Vision

Cornell’s mission is as follows: “In keeping with the founding vision of Ezra Cornell, our community fosters personal discovery and growth, nurtures scholarship and creativity across a broad range of common knowledge, and engages men and women from every segment of society in this quest. We pursue understanding beyond the limitations of existing knowledge, ideology, and disciplinary structure. We affirm the value to individuals and society of cultivation and enrichment of the human mind and spirit.

Our faculty, students, alumni, and staff strive toward these objectives in a context of freedom with responsibility. We foster initiative, integrity, and excellence, in an environment of collegiality, civility, and responsible stewardship. As the land-grant institution for the state of New York, we apply the results of our endeavors in service to our alumni, the community, the state, the nation, and the world.”

Our commitment to these values means that each faculty and staff member is expected to act in such a way that all members of the Cornell community feel respected and valued and, as a result, committed to delivering value and excellence to the organization.

Measurement and Feedback

Once expectations are explicitly shared and learning is encouraged, employees are held accountable for meeting expectations through measurement and feedback.


The term Accountability means that a staff member is accountable for their performance, and that their performance will have consequences. If the performance is good, the result is a positive consequence (praise, new challenging project, bonus, etc.) If there is an opportunity for performance improvement, the consequences might include discussing expectations, clarifying roles and goals, providing constructive feedback, and developing a plan to lead to future employee success that is agreed upon by the employee and their supervisor. Performance is measured to determine if improvement is made.


This stakeholder alignment model provides a framework for understanding how the work of each individual and unit aligns to the university’s goal of fostering excellence.

We believe that if employees meet and even exceed what their customers/clients want and value that are in alignment with the mission and priorities of the University, and if we have motivated and satisfied employees, ever improving our work processes by incorporating known best practices, we will deliver to the stakeholder the value, productivity, quality, and the overall effectiveness they desire.

Please contact us to learn more about how you can partner with us to develop and implement more effective and efficient processes and to align the goals of your organization, your employees and your customers with those of the university, as together we “foster initiative, integrity, and excellence, in an environment of collegiality, civility, and responsible stewardship.”

To learn more or if you have questions, please contact Kathy Burkgren at 255-7867.