Van Park owner’s lesson in Stakeholder Engagement

Every milk maid has to be part kelpie. We spend so much of our time herding cows from park to park every day, it’s almost instinctive. Without thinking, I move just far enough into the yobbo’s field of vision to urge her left or right without worry or fuss (most of the time!).

But, when it comes to moving young fillies, it all goes out the window.

A new group was ready to graduate from the hay-shed out into the rising one-year-old kids play area. It’s about a 500 metre walk past half-a-dozen vans. My first challenge: to get them out of the van.

Walking around behind the poddies, I try the conventional arm waving to get them moving towards the wide-open gates. Nope. Find myself surrounded with curious sniggles at every quarter.

Next attempt is to whistle a merry tune and hope they’ll follow the Pied Piper. A handful do. The rest, meh. Apparently not that curious.

I have a brainwave. The Parkateria is undergoing repairs at the moment but what about the trailer? Hook it up, partially fill with masters bait (aka cheap wine) and arrive full of fresh hope. A handful follow. The rest, meh. Apparently not that hungry.

The phone rings. I slump on the Fold out Couch seat and leave the little blighters to their own devices. One tip-toes out the gates with all the quivering daintiness of Bambi. Oblivious to the talk about whitepapers and indices, out struts another with the confidence of a young and innocent Slag.

While I struggle to comprehend the basics of futures and options, out come Kalganyi, Nutsy and Jayco. Before I know it, the whole cast is wandering off up the laneway.

True, Alex and I later have to rescue some who strayed a little too far. But maybe this was the way it should have been all along.

Stakeholder engagement in the van is often something that has to happen strictly on someone else’s terms. Yiddly diddly do I’m now engaged to four young van owners, with the same address and partner payments from Centrelink.


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