Shifting from Stakeholder Engagement to Stakeholder Trust
Given the long duration of the construction and operational phases of the projects, we could not simply just engage with the residents when issues and grievances turned up, and then disengage. This approach would do little to address the community’s trust deficit in the projects. Because the projects’ delivery is directly linked to its effect on residents, we had to develop the residents’ emotional and technical connections to the projects. That is, the people needed to become the promoters and advocates of the successful completion of the projects, from construction to operations.
We established a new, multifaceted organization within the impacted community called the Centralized Services Organization (CSO). Its dedication to advancing stakeholder trust was central to project execution and served as its organizing principle. In this way, some of the CSO attributes are similar to another commonly used CSO: civil society organization. In both cases there is an underlying focus on bridging the transparency and trust gap between the community and the projects.