Weed and Feed—A Springtime Reminder to Care for Your Stakeholders

Barely a month into spring, and the sweet pea vines I thought were eradicated last year are weaving menacingly around the peony shoots in my garden.  It strikes me that “care and feeding,” the term used by public relations consultants for tending to stakeholder relationships, is sometimes not enough for growth and survival. If left unchecked, the peonies would certainly succumb to the vines’ crushing weight and theft of sunlight.

Like weeds (and unwanted sweet pea vines), any number of distractions, misunderstandings, and misinformation campaigns can choke the growth of new or fragile relationships. So, in addition to routinely tending to your desired stakeholder relationships, don’t forget to keep your eyes open for issues or antagonists that threaten from the sidelines. Everyone’s “stakeholder garden” is eventually thrust into the spotlight—whether due to a controversial permit application, a safety or environmental incident, an unexpected change in alliance, or some other trigger. If you are striving for best in show under challenging circumstances, keep up with the weeding alongside the feeding.