Compliance, Compliance oh no!

It probably seems to you like every time you want to talk about compliance, everyone runs away and hides, they ignore you and hope you go away, or they fuss and moan. Compliance is a fact of business life, however. Your company must comply with:
Your customers’ requirements (quality, safety, performance specifications, quantity, price, prompt delivery, etc.);

Industry or other standards and guidelines (ISO 9001,IFRS, etc.); and/or Regulations (e.g., 8th EU Directive, Food Safety Modernization Act) in order to get or to keep business.

And therein lies the problem: compliance is like healthy eating or exercise. We know we have to, but well, it’s so hard to either make the time or get enthusiastic about it!

Why is it that “have to” and “want to” always seem to be inversely proportional to one another?

How do you sell yourself and your employees on the notion that compliance is something you want, not something you merely put up with?

How do you turn “got to” into “want to”?

First, you have to…

1. Sell yourself on the idea. You’ll find in life  that is, if you haven’t already that if you don’t have a deep and firmly held belief in your company, your product, or your people, you won’t sell your product or your service. If you lack enthusiasm, conviction, self-discipline, vision, perspective, and some of the other characteristics that define leadership, you won’t have many followers.

2. Your customers are your ultimate critics. If you don’t meet their requirements, you’re out of business. It won’t matter what other requirements you fail to meet if you fail to meet your customer’s. Have your priorities in order — listen to your customers first.

3. Include your staff in the development of Policies and Procedures that will ensure your company’s compliance, because: (a) you can’t do it all by yourself; (b) they know more of the day-to-day tasks, operations, and processes than you; and (c) you need to show that you value and trust their judgement if they’re to grow (i.e., micromanagers never win).

4. Give everyone in your firm the resources they need to do their jobs effectively.
5. Ensure that your employees are more than adequately trained and experienced. Make sure they know what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.
6. Keep the lines of communication open all the time. Communicate effectively and continually with all levels of your organization. Get out of your office! Regularly address your employees first hand, directly and openly.
7. Listen, then turn what you’re hearing into something your employees, and your customers want to act on.
8. Make a habit of meeting with suppliers, subcontractors, and everyone who has a hand in getting your product or service into the hands of your customers. You might not be able to do this often but you shouldn’t let a year go by without visiting with your valuable partners. Communication is key!
9. Look at failures as opportunities for improvement. Don’t go looking for the guilty party every time something doesn’t go according to plan! You want to keep failure to a minimum, yes, but keep things in perspective. Not every mistake requires Draconian countermeasures!
10. Share success. Compliance goes beyond merely observing standards or laws — compliance can help you win business! When it does, spread the wealth. Acknowledge the part everyone played in making your company a success, especially those who had a direct hand in your victory.
Sell yourself, then sell everyone else on the importance and value of compliance. Make them want it! Your customers do.


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