Two Kinds of Compliance Resiliency

Compliance resiliency is essential for organizations to sustain compliance outcomes which cover a spectrum from prescriptive to outcome-based obligations. For organizations to be effective at meeting all their obligations they will need to ensure that compliance supports two kinds of resiliency:

  • Resilience as bounce back (reactive) to preserve consistency

  • Resilience as bounce forward (proactive) to advance outcomes

What does it mean to be resilient? Resilience is often defined as “the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance, undergo change, and retain the same essential functions, structure, identity, and feedbacks.”[12]  The kind of capabilities an organization needs will depend on whether their goal is to maintain the ability to sustain a status quo (security) or the ability to adapt and improve (resilience) [2]. In the first case the objective is to bounce back (reactive), whereas, in the second the objective is to bounce forward (proactive). Recognizing this difference is crucial to sustainable business as well as compliance outcomes.

Resilience, Sustainability, and Security [2]

What is compliance resiliency?

Traditionally, compliance has focused on meeting prescriptive obligations where the goal is to consistently follow standard procedures and processes. Controls are put in place to ensure that prescribed rules are followed and outputs are created safely, with integrity and quality. Consistency is a critical measure of performance and passing an audit is the measure of success.  

In response to change (anticipated or actual), resiliency in this case means to bounce back.

However, when it comes to advancing compliance outcomes towards such things as zero emissions, zero violations, zero incidents, zero fatalities, and zero harm, the focus for compliance is now on continuous improvement, managing risk and making progress towards promised outcomes. Risk controls (measures) are put in place to ensure that objectives are achieved, and outputs are evaluated against their contribution towards the advancement of outcomes. Meeting objectives is a critical measure of performance, and making progress is the measure of success.

In response to change (anticipated or actual), resiliency in this case means to bounce forward.

If you are interested in improving the resiliency of your compliance consider our 12-week virtual boot camp. Through weekly coaching sessions we help you develop a detailed improvement roadmap for one of your compliance programs: quality, safety, security, environmental, regulatory, risk, process safety, or pipeline safety. To learn more contact us at and team rates available)


[1] Resilience Alliance Gunderson (2002) [2] Adapted and modified from Seager (2008, p. 445) from the paper, "RESILIENCE MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS – ACHIEVING SUSTAINABILITY IN TURBULENT ENVIRONMENTS ", 2014, Thomas Günther Koslowski

#effectivecompliance #riskmangement

Lean Compliance helps companies adopt and improve compliance systems to better meet performance and outcome-based obligations.

We offer specialized programs and training tailored to fit each company's size and capabilities. 

Schedule a call with us today to find out which programs are best for you.  You can book your appointment here.

© 2020 Lean Compliance™

All rights reserved.

Access free workshops and resources to help you manage your compliance during and post COVID-19.