If you’re battling with your Social Licence to Operate (SLO) and don’t know where to start, here are three home truths to get your back on track. 1. Social Licence is founded on trust
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If your stakeholders don’t trust you, you are on a slippery slope to losing your SLO. Trust is your most valuable asset and is not easy to earn but easy to lose. Your Social Licence is a representation of your social capital, which relies on you having invested in the communities and society (your social ecosystem) that surround your business. Investing in these relationships and fostering a culture of inclusiveness and transparency builds the strong trust bonds required for an enduring SLO. The Social Licence concept revolves around the universality of building relationships by using qualities universal in human societies, such as respect, credibility and trust. It’s about transferring the basic fundamentals of being a ‘good human’ to business. 2. Your Social Licence is as strong as your value connection Where there is a strong disconnect in values there is conflict. Likewise, where there is a strong alignment in values there is harmony. A powerful way to achieve SLO is to align your values. The ‘Value Connection’ is where you find familiarity, respect and confidence, which gives you trust. If we understand who our stakeholders are and what they value you can identify the value gaps, which is where trust breaks down and we work to realign, avoiding a degradation in SLO. One way to achieve this is to incorporate your stakeholder values into your strategy. 3. Stakeholder engagement is your most powerful tool Having a finger on the pulse of where your stakeholder values and concerns lay is a form of insurance against any future threat to your business. Like Community Capacity Building (CCB), stakeholder engagement is about future-proofing your relationship as much as your business. The earning of a Social Licence isn’t that complicated. It all boils down to human relationships and the trust capital within them. The challenge is in the growing breadth and complexity of who your stakeholders are. In the digital age of information and a globalised economy, keeping our fingers on the pulse is a full-time job. What you can bank on is that your stakeholders’ bullshit radar is on high alert, they’re craving authentic experiences and their values are their new religion.