3SC Chair’s Blog: Partnership Means Trust

Can a leopard change its spots? Probably not – but who is to say it cannot grow new ones?

3SC has changed and is changing still. We have moved beyond forming networks purely to bid to bid for public sector contracts, into a new model for the business. We are growing new spots.

This is as much an emotional as a business journey.

We at 3SC have formed partnerships with other, like-minded social enterprises. We don’t own them nor they us; nor have we become tied into formal joint ventures to deliver particular contracts or services. We have come together on the basis of trust and mutual understanding about the ultimate goal, which is to drive forward an agenda for social change. The arrangement holds firm because we understand and respect and trust one another.

There are many needs today in the post-2008 world but the biggest of all is perhaps the regaining of trust – which perhaps might be boiled to saying what you mean and meaning what you say.

Almost wherever one turns these days one can find a breakdown of trust: in politicians, journalists, business, education, between different genders, movie production…the list seems endless. It can seem at times as though social cohesion is at the point of collapse.

Long ago I heard a piece of advice that has stayed with me. How do you eat an elephant? With a small spoon.

In other words, when one feels overwhelmed the only sensible response is to tackle the challenges little by little, making those small differences that one can, being persistent, gaining the small victories – and eventually all the elephant will be eaten.

Which is why we have formed the partnerships we have, to make the eating of that elephant that much easier. Collaborative trust is perhaps the best that social enterprises can offer a world in need. We do hope you will join our expanding network of friends and partners.

John Swinney, Chair