Updated: Oct 15
– G.K. Chesterton.
When I founded Lean Compliance in 2017 I was encouraged to write blog posts to help draw attention to our website. What I did not realize until much later was how much this weekly habit would generate far more than just clicks on a web page. It became a way of making progress in the presence of uncertainty.
Starting to write
As an engineer and a visual learner writing did not come easy. I was better at diagrams and using them to understand as well as communicate ideas and concepts. This of course is helpful as an electrical/computer engineer where schematics, block diagrams, and flowcharts were the currency for my work and my career.
Those who are engineers will know that most of the writing we do is in point form and technical. The thought of having to communicate using full sentences was certainly intimidating.
However, I felt that important things needed to be said so I started to write. I took to heart the quote by G.K. Chesterton
"If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly."
Some of my first blog posts where just a diagram with a paragraph explanation. Others were longer, some (perhaps most) needed more editing, more thought, and some needed to put in the bin.
However, on a few occasions something good came through which resonated with the audience I wanted to communicate with and those who were following me on this journey something that I had never imagined.
A weekly habit with compounding benefits
Writing started in fits and starts but in time became a weekly habit. I have now written hundreds of articles over the course of 5 years.
Some of these have been published and some will become content in my upcoming book. However, all of the blog posts were me thinking out loud which is scary but necessary to do. Writing allowed me to test ideas and better conceptualize the challenges facing compliance and how best to address them.
Through writing I have made connections and had conversations with amazing people who are on similar journeys across the diverse domains and industries were compliance finds itself. Some of these interactions have led to meaningful engagements becoming clients of Lean Compliance.
All of this happened because I started writing blog articles to attract people to a web site. This did happened but the other benefits were the real lesson of the story.
A quote and a process worth repeating
We are never good at anything at the beginning. It takes time to master a topic, learn a skill, write blog posts or even achieve compliance effectiveness. In the spirit of C.K. Chesterton we can write:
Improving compliance effectiveness is something that is worth doing and worth doing badly.
The most important step is to get started. For me it was to start writing. Poorly at first, but improving over time.
For compliance, it starts with being proactive – to anticipate, plan, and act to make certain that all your promises are kept.
At first this will be scary, forced, and frustrating at times. You may want to give up and go back to the old way of doing things (i.e. the audit-fix cycle). However, if you endure you will get better and things will be easier for you. You will also start to see benefits of the kind that compound over time.
As you continue you may even find that being proactive is no longer the struggle it once was. You will find it second nature as writing now is for me.
Establishing the habit of pro-activity will improve your compliance but even better you will experience the benefits of always being in compliance – the true lesson of the story.
Remember, “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.” You just need to start.
So what are you waiting for?