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Compliance Excellence - A Road Less Traveled

There are many places in business where performance is critical and the drive to excel pushes organizations beyond their current limits to achieve remarkable outcomes and we call this the pursuit of excellence.

However, when it comes to compliance this pursuit is one that few companies take.

Compliance excellence is something that companies rarely discuss let alone put on their list of strategic priorities. And yet, it is a lack of effective compliance that contributes significantly to why many are often only one recall, one explosion, one violation, or one mishap away from losing their regulator license and what is becoming as important their social license to operate.

While there are many volumes of books, papers, legal briefs, and other documents concerning compliance many of them focus on complying with prescriptive obligations mostly through the narrow lens of legal affairs. In the rare cases where the lens is broadened it results in a stack of separate departments each addressing a different obligation source; one for safety, quality, environmental, cybersecurity, and so on. Each function having their own resources, systems, processes, and practices, and even its own culture.

Although implemented separately, what they do have in common is the same reactive strategy reinforced by an audit / fix cycle. This approach is characterized by looking at what has already happened, correcting non-conformance, and then determining how to prevent them in the future. Not only is this expensive (at least three times), it is too slow and too late to make any real and significant difference in outcomes.

A reactive strategy is like steering your car by looking through the rear view mirror. You only see things through the lens of past performance, and often after you hit the guard rail; hoping that it has stopped you from going over the cliff.

Compliance needs to change from looking at where it has travelled to where it is going. This provides a better outlook and affords the opportunity to better stay between the lines and prevent risks that might otherwise diminish or possibly destroy value creation.

While this is a road less travelled it is the road to effective compliance and one that leads to better outcomes.



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