When it comes to social licence, it requires a shift in mindset that dials into our shared humanity. When nothing else seems to work, in bringing us together, our shared humanity will; allowing us to become a part of the solution rather than the problem.
At the highest level, people want the same thing. Security. For most that is a healthy planet, people and economy. The perception of what that is and how we get there is the bridge we struggle to cross and often leaves us feeling like we’re swimming in a tank of jellyfish - trying to stay afloat. Be careful not to get stung.
The differences in our worldview and values, are influenced by our experiences, ideology, race, ethnicity and culture, language, gender, age, religion, history, politics, social class, and economic status. The ability to polarise our views, made easy with the eternal rabbit holes of affirmation available to us online. The very reason why the need for diversity and inclusion is so important. It is ironic how easy is to become ignorant when it has never been easier to expose ourselves to so much diversity and educate ourselves.
If we can remind ourselves of our shared humanity and hold onto what we have in common we can start to build meaningful connections. From there we can foster trust and an environment to solve problems together. Our stakeholders are not seeking to be convinced they are wrong, rather to be understood. Having the humility to understand that it is a privilege to operate, not a right, and that we are not perfect and don’t have all the answers is vital.
We must remember and respect our shared humanity in any process, but most especially in earning our social licence to operate. In essence, it is about earning trust with our stakeholders.
There is a cultural shift in the business world reflecting the value of our shared humanity where putting people first and at the centre of change is considered best practice. It seems simple, but after decades of putting the bottom line first, the required humility to break down silos and hierarchies to allow diversity of thought, inclusion, accountability, transparency, authenticity and respect is not an overnight fix.
We all have a role to play in healing our planet and looking after our people and the more we allow our shared humanity to guide us the better off we will be. It’s about having the humility to respect and find solutions with those who challenge us. In the primary sector, the part of society that pushed us to achieve the environmental outcomes we have today may also be a part of the solutions we need to find to continue to minimise our impact. Regardless, they care about their environment and how their food is grown.
What a history of disruption has shown us is that if we can’t be a part of the solution, someone or something else will be. So let’s focus less on our differences and more on our common ground to rebuild enough trust to create truly systemic solutions.