Treating the government as a prime stakeholder involves recognising its importance and actively engaging with it in your activities and decision-making processes. Besides the immense power to control, regulate and license business dealings, governments across the globe are also significantbuyers of goods and services from the private sector. It,therefore, makes a lot of business sense to ensure that your company’s relations with government are excellent, clean and productive. Here are some steps to consider:

1. Understand the role and significance of the government: Educate yourself about the government’s structure, functions, and policies relevant to your industry or sector. Understand how the government’s actions can impact your business or organisation.

2. Build relationships: Establish and maintain relationships with government officials and representatives at different levels, such as local, provincial/regional, and national. Attend relevant events, conferences, and industry meetings to network with government stakeholders.

3. Stay informed: Stay current with legislative changes, regulations, and policies affecting your industry. Monitor government announcements, policy initiatives, and consultations to identify opportunities or risks.

4. Compliance and transparency: Ensure compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and standards. Maintain transparency in your operations, financial reporting, and interactions with the government. Be prepared to provide necessary information and documentation when requested.

5. Engage in public policy discussions: Participate in public consultations and policy discussions that concern your industry or sector. Contribute your expertise, insights, and recommendations to shape policies that benefit your organisation and the broader community.

6. Collaborate on initiatives: Seek opportunities for collaboration with government entities on projects, initiatives, or campaigns that align with your organisation’s goals. Explore public-private partnerships or cooperative arrangements to address common challenges or achieve shared objectives.

7. Advocate for your interests: Clearly articulate your organisation’s needs, concerns, and priorities to government stakeholders. Advocate for policies and regulations that support your business or organisation’s growth and sustainability while considering the broader public interest.

8. Monitor the political landscape and engage proactively: Stay aware of political developments that could impact your organisation. Engage proactively with government stakeholders during elections, policy changes, or leadership transitions to ensure your voice and interests are represented.

9. Contribute to public welfare: Demonstrate your commitment to the community’s interest by supporting initiatives that align with government priorities, such as corporate social responsibility programs, environmental sustainability efforts, or job creation initiatives.

10. Seek professional advice: If needed, consult with legal, regulatory, or government affairs experts who can guideyou in navigating complex government processes, compliance requirements, or stakeholder engagement strategies.

Remember, treating the government as a prime stakeholder involves an ongoing effort to establish and maintain positive relationships, align your activities with government priorities, and contribute to the overall well-being of the community in which you operate.

Follow the LinkedIn newsletter, “The Power of Stakeholders”, by Dr Thabang Chiloane, Chairperson of the Institute for Stakeholder Relations Southern Africa, by clicking here.