When it comes to the primary sector’s social licence, a shift in mindset requires us to dial into our shared humanity to become a part of the solution rather than the problem.
At the highest level, we all want the same thing. Security. For most that is a healthy economy, planet and people. 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 foreign objects - trying to stay afloat.
The foreign objects? Our values. They are the human traits that make us who we are and are defined by our beliefs and instincts; ultimately influencing our behaviours. Our values and worldview are shaped by our experiences, ideology, race, ethnicity, language, gender, age, religion, history, politics, social class, and economic status. This is further exacerbated and complicated by our ability to launch ourselves into the eternal rabbit hole, of affirmation, online. In all these layers of complexity, there is one thing that allows us to take a breath of clarity. We are all just people who want to feel connected, valued , safe and secure.
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 an earning of trust with our stakeholders. They all have different worldviews and are not seeking to be convinced they are wrong, rather to be understood. 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 the new best practice approach. 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, authenticity, inclusion, accountability and respect is not an overnight fix.
Humility is the understanding that it is a privilege to operate, not a right, we are not perfect and we don’t have all the answers. 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. Now it’s about having the humility to find solutions with those who challenge us. The very people that pushed us to achieve the greater environmental achievements we have today.
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.
by Penny Clark-Hall, Social Licence Consulting