Culture of Compliance

by | Nov 10, 2020 | Strategy |


I stared at my computer. Hit refresh a few times. But it didn’t go away. It was there looking at me.

“As we continue to build momentum around compliance, it is critical for leaders to understand compliance and the part you can play to influence and drive culture change around compliance.”

It was sent by the ‘Director of Compliance’.

Stunned was my reaction. We’re trying to increase our culture of compliance???

Compliance is about rule keeping. About staying in line. And tends to result in widget making or create robots.

But here’s the thing. The email didn’t talk about what we are complying to. McDonalds and Michelin Star restaurants are compliant too. They all have food safety standards, hygiene standards, and even HR standards to comply to. But then they differ too in other things they comply to – food preparation and presentation is very different.

So we could choose to focus on our ‘culture of compliance’ (terrible phrase) on creativity, innovation, achieving the positive change in the lives of those we seek to serve. But we tend to call that something different.

However, when we focus on compliance we send a message about what is and isn’t important. It’s hard to have a culture of creativity and innovation when everyone is worried about keeping the rules.

The choice on what to focus on and promote is up to us.

Photo by Sebastian Herrmann


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