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How To Strengthen Your Ability To Drive Compliance Improvements

In this post we consider a question that we are often asked:

"How do we strengthen our ability to drive compliance improvements in our organization, particularly with those who may be resistant to change?"

Change Management for Compliance
Change Management for Compliance

There are several factors that need to be considered to drive change and overcome resistance. These can be categorized along two dimensions: technical and people side of change.

Technical Side of Change

On the technical side, we need to overcome inherent resistance built into systems and processes.

Operational systems are designed to resist change to achieve consistency to standard which is a desirable quality. This poses unique challenges when systems need to adapt to deliver improved performance or new capabilities and why managing these change need to be done carefully. It is not surprising to find resistance from those responsible to keep these systems operational. For them, change introduces the opportunity for risk. To overcome resistance one needs to first contend with risk.

Managing technical change is often a regulated process referred to as Management of Change (MoC) in high-risk, highly-regulated:

Management of Change

An effective MOC process will help guide planning, implementation, and manage change to prevent or mitigate unintended consequences that affect the safety of workers, public, or the environment. Although MOC processes may look different based on the industry or compliance system involved, the purpose remains the same, which is, to avoid unnecessary risk.

An MOC process provides a structured approach to capture a change, identify and mitigate risks, assess impacts (organization, procedures, behaviours, documentation, training, etc.), define work plans to effect change safely, engage stakeholders, obtain necessary approvals, and update effected documentation. By following such a process risk can be adequately ameliorated which perhaps is the most important measure of MOC effectiveness.

People Side of Change

Organizations will often use management programs to introduce change needed to achieve greater effectiveness over time. Programs act as a from regulation for underlying systems to achieve a change in outcomes rather than only performance. These outcomes will be in the form of financial, safety, security, environmental, quality and other mission critical objectives.

Programs v.s. Systems

Change Management (CM) will therefore be an essential part of management programs focusing mostly (but not entirely) on the people side of change. This makes sense as programs will by necessity introduce new capabilities which will affect existing and introduce new structures, systems and processes.

Organizations often look to change methodologies such as the PROSCI® ADKAR model, Kotter 8-step process, or something similar to increase support and reduce resistance to change.

Kotter's 8-Step Process

What is often not well understood is that CM and MoC need to work together in order to realize intended benefits. For example, accomplishing short-term wins may not be possible when new capabilities are not implemented first.

All aspects of change must be coordinated and often sustained over a long period of time which will involve other change methodologies and processes aligned with continuous improvement.

It is no wonder that without capabilities to navigate change of this kind some may be resistant or at least skeptical of participating in such an endeavour.

Driving Compliance Improvements Using The Proactive Certainty Program

The Proactive Certainty Program™ that we offer is designed to drive change towards compliance operability and better compliance outcomes over time.

Participants of this program find that they are in a better position to contend with both the technical and people sides of change by defining:

  • What changes are needed,

  • Why these change are needed, and

  • What strategy to use for making change a reality.

The Proactive Certainty Program™ helps answer these questions by helping organizations better understand their compliance landscape, the destination (purpose, outcomes, and goals) for their compliance program, where they are now relative to that destination, and how best to get there.

This knowledge contributes to building a common vision and desire for change. It also helps to discover what capabilities are needed to effect the benefits of compliance from both an organizational and technical perspective.

Resistance triggers are also identified as threats and opportunities providing early insights for input into change management and MoC processes.

Further information on how to strengthen your ability to drive compliance improvements can be found here.


Further reading on managing change:



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