In the words of W. Edwards Deming, “You cannot inspect quality into a product.” And yet, audits remain the primary mechanism to protect stakeholders from the effects of uncertainty.
As Deming has rightly stated, inspecting what has already happened is too slow and too late to ensure risk does not become a reality.
When it does, trust can be easily lost with those who have put their trust in your business, products, or services.
Quality, safety, environmental, regulatory, and other compliance programs help to rebuild trust by reducing the risks associated with meeting the promises made to each stakeholder.
However, most organizations view compliance as a necessary evil and something to avoid, let alone something to invest in.
As a result, compliance remains mostly a world of disparate silos, competing cultures, inefficient processes, and excessive audits. Together with a narrow focus on prescriptive compliance to “shall statements” the opportunity now exists for threats to penetrate an organization’s defences in-between the checklists, procedures, and policies.
Stakeholders now face the possibility of risk that is systemic, mostly undetected, and potentially disruptive.
Looking for and filling every gap in meeting prescriptive obligations misses the gaps that are really important – the holes in the system.
It is only by anticipating, planning, and acting that prevents risks from becoming a reality. This requires a proactive and intentional approach to compliance that focuses on outcomes, capabilities, and continuous improvement which are the hallmarks of an effective compliance system.