Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The growing need for compliance.

In an increasingly competitive work environment, the need for compliance has escalated into micro management proportions. We see the big, scandalous examples of corporate corruption where CEO’s have cooked the books, traders have defrauded their clients and of course the sub prime housing crisis but what we don’t like to see are our daily examples that can accumulate to have just as serious of an impact on the integrity of the small businesses we chose to represent.

There’s little argument that we are in the age of ‘big’. Everything has to be big and our ego’s seem to fall prey to trumping our 'big' talk. When we arrive at a workplace, it’s usually on the heels of presenting (talking) well during the interview / hiring process. Shortly after we’re hired, we instinctively look for the easier way, the work around, the path of least resistance and that’s where compliance follows up.

In the old days, compliance was welcomed with a boastful pride that we were about to be recognized for a job well done. Now, compliance is met with a how-dare-you indifference followed by the easiest two words  in the workplace dictionary ‘I quit’.

There is ample research to support the claim that North Americans represent the most unproductive workforce in the established nations. What we need to do is examine some of the factors that have led to the increased need for compliance and think about how we can move ourselves off that top 10 list.

  1. Distractions. Our daily routine is inundated with distractions. These distractions are intentionally designed to entice us to buy/use products of other companies. Imagine if we actually went to work and focused on the job we agreed to do for the period of time we agreed to do it without being distracted? Your manager / boss would not wake you up at 1am to ask how you thought Nancy from marketing was doing? Work is for work.
  2. Multi-tasking. Our favorite; being average at many things while mastering none. Multi-tasking is a high level management skill that requires years of training and practice to be done well. Sorry, but 19-25 straight from University probably don’t have the work-world related experience to multi-task effectively. This skill is developmental not inherent. We should focus on doing 1 thing and MASTERING it prior to moving onto another.
  3. Zero consequences. We seem to shift back & fourth from zero tolerance to zero consequence in an effort to find a realistic balance. The saying ‘give and inch and people will take a mile’ seems appropriate for this conversation as it’s more difficult to move someone on from doing a poor job now than ever (case in point the bad teacher example). Unfortunately, there needs to be tangible consequences if we want people to take us seriously. It's unfortunate we're not able to fulfill the agreements we've signed without having consequences, but again it's human nature.
  4. Watered down labor pool. Truthfully, there needs to be more diamonds in the rough. By that we refer to those people across any spectrum of careers that are passionate about what they do and do it well. The #1 demand of many organizations is good & great people. “We need good & great people”. There aught to be a University degree that deals with instructing how to be good & great vs the average jack of all trades pool that’s looking out for their interests.
  5. Lack of personal pride. We seem to be in the 'whatever-era'. Once upon a time there was something noble about coming through the door with the stainless steel lunchbox, greeting your wife and  children, and sitting down to a great meal as a family after reading the paper. It was simple but as it related to the industrial boom, it was effective. There’s no magic here. If we know our roles and execute them to our best abilities, it stands to reason we’re ALL going to prosper.
So now, after decades of progress we’re back to hierarchy & compliance mainly because obviously on mass, we may not have been ready, equipped or educated to manage the very latitude &  freedoms we sought.

 Are you part of the compliance problem or are you part of the compliance solution?

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