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Compliance Training versus Compliance Practice


Compliance Training or Compliance Practice?
Compliance Training or Compliance Practice?

Those that have watched Ted Lasso on Apple TV+ will know that the meaning of words we use can be different specifically when spoken in another culture. In the TV show, an American football coach goes over to the UK to coach a football team (and by football we mean soccer) where he soon discovers that some words, phrases, and idioms do not mean the same thing. For example, in American football, players train whereas in the UK footballers practice. The words train and practice are used for the same thing and will involve both training and practice. Confusing, right?


This confusion also exists when it comes to business when we hear the word training. In this context, we usually expect to learn how to do something rather than actually doing it. Practice is the word we use to describe applying what you learned which takes more time and often done separately.


This separation between training and practise perhaps can be attributed to our education system which tends to separate knowledge from skill development.


What about LEAN?


When it comes to LEAN, training and practice are done together more like a sports team. You learn by doing and you learn with a coach.


This is often done in the context of problem-based learning where you learn what you need to solve a problem when the problem surfaces. Toyota Kata is an excellent example of how this is done.


LEAN has successfully used this approach for years along with other sectors such as medicine where problem-based learning is seen as the best way for future doctors to learn their trade.


What about Compliance?


When it comes to compliance, training is a big thing. In fact, training for many organizations is seen as the dominate means to achieve compliance apart from audits. However, training in this case has more to do with education rather than developing skills.


Receiving training about compliance while important is ineffective without practicing the skills needed to achieve compliance and that has more to do with keeping promises.


According to Promise Theory (c.f. Mark Burgess), obligations are the intentions induced by someone on us with a penalty for non-compliance. Promises (the other side of the coin) are the commitments we voluntarily make to meet the obligation. You could say (and I do) that the practice of promise keeping is the true work of compliance.


To that end, here are seven things you can practice to help you keep your promises:


  1. Be intentional - keep track of your promises and how well you are doing.

  2. Become more self-aware - monitor your decisions and be aware of what you are committing to.

  3. Don’t make promises you can’t keep - over promising and under delivering is still a thing. Make realistic commitments based on on your capabilities, capacity, and availability.

  4. Be courageous - making promises is a courageous act often done in the presence of uncertainty. Press into the uncertainty and learn how to contend with it rather than withdrawing from it.

  5. Be proactive - assess the risks in keeping your promises and make plans to improve your probability of success.

  6. Ask your team to help you be accountable - the secret sauce of promise keeping. Declare your intentions and have someone other than yourself hold yourself accountable.

  7. Fail quickly - If you can’t keeping your promise ask for help and do so as early as possible. We all need help from time to time and this is how we learn.

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