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Is Your Motivation Holding You Back?


One of factors that hold companies back from improving their compliance is ambivalence; having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about what goals to have and what approach to follow. This uncertainty contributes to the lack of motivation to act which is a significant cause for failing to achieve operational and effective compliance.

Knowing where you are going

Having somewhere positive to go to that is well articulated and realistic will help motivate change.


We need to know what the pot of gold is that we are going after. However, all too often, we find that companies have vague ideas of what compliance should do and what the outcomes should be.

The opposite is also common. Many companies are very specific and clear about their compliance destination. In fact they have already arrived as stated in their declaration that they are following all applicable laws and regulations. Where else is there to go when you believe that you are already there?

What we need to understand is that the compliance landscape has changed and so has the destination and the measures to get there. Compliance has moved beyond prescriptive specifications to outcome and performance targets that requires continuous improvement and the effective management of risk.

Compliance is not measured by whether you are comply or not but instead is measured by the level of certainty you have in achieving your compliance goals and objectives. As risk is never static continuous risk management is needed to keep companies operating between the lines in the presence of uncertainty.

All of this changes the goals and objectives for compliance.

Knowing what is behind

Knowing where you are going is not enough to be properly motivated. You also need the motivation that comes from being aware of the danger of staying where you are. You need be aware of the dragon that is chasing you from behind as well as the the pot of gold that is in front of you to sustain proper motivation for change.

The dragon facing companies these days are the effects that come from not addressing all their stakeholder obligations. These have a negative impact on mission success, reputation and ultimately trust. As a result, you may still be left with a regulatory licence to operate but you may not have a business that investors want to invest in or customers want to buy from.

If ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investing and the downstream impact on environmental programs continues to gain traction learning how to navigate the broader compliance landscape will be a decisive factor in avoiding the dragon that is behind.

Knowing how to get there

So how to you move from ambivalence to action? Here are three steps you can follow to improve and sustain your motivation:

  1. Describe what your compliance destination looks like in realistic and specific ways – the piece of heaven that you are striving for.

  2. Describe what your designation looks like if you don’t improve – the slice of hell that you want to avoid.

  3. Establish a program that continuously advances your business towards its destination and avoids the dangers of staying where you are. Making progress is a huge motivation for even more progress.

Everyday is a chance to improve your compliance so let's not waste it.

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