top of page


Elevate Your Undestanding

Two Kinds of Compliance Resiliency

Compliance resiliency is important for organizations to maintain compliance in response to changes to business or business climate. For organizations to be effective at meeting all their obligations they will need to ensure that their compliance programs support two kinds of resiliency:

  • Resilience as bounce back (reactive) to preserve state or condition

  • Resilience as bounce forward (proactive) to change state or condition

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 our program management office



[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


Related Posts

See All
Operational Compliance - Primer

"For Compliance to be Effective,

It First Must be Operational."

Download our Free

Operational Compliance - Primer


bottom of page