I’m thinking of previous employers; fast, furious and fun companies where the cornerstone values included “Business over administration” and the metrics were set accordingly. Traditional high-performance cultures with all the incentives that come along with it.
I’m wondering how they are adapting in this transformative and regulatory driven era, where compliance culture, sustainability and scaling ethically is becoming equal to profit margin – or at least the only road to getting there.
I’m also curious about what happens with all the top performers as the business models they were professionally fostered into, and built their careers on, are being thrown out? It’s an Alice in Wonderland moment for many of us, for sure. A whole new infrastructure of doing business. Lots of new rules, lots of reporting, lots of new systems to figure out.
How do we support the top-performers in making the shift from a high-performance mind-set to a sustainable growth and compliance mind-set without demotivating them and losing their great energy and drive?
This called for a workshop with compliance and GDPR expert Tomas Jalling. We sat down the other day and here are some bullet-points from our discussion:
How do we embrace the vibrant energy of the high performing cultures and transform them into equally vibrant compliance cultures?
Even though many of us thrive and get boosted in high performance cultures – on the flip side of the coin they do also increase people’s fears, by creating a game of winning or losing. The winners are the stars and the losers eventually get weeded out. This system creates incentives to cover up any mistakes, shortcomings and weaknesses which is working against creating ethically sound organizations.
In a vibrant compliance culture, the result will still be important but the road to getting there is equally important. The focus will be on learning, sharing, doing it right and doing it even better the next time. This will most likely lead to teams with high transparency and high psychological safety, which is a core foundation for high-performance anyway (so there win-win).
In creating a compliance culture here are some concrete steps to take:
– Raise awareness – in order to comply with the rules you need to know they exist, understand them and why it’s important to comply with them. Create systems for staying on top of new regulatory demands.
– Communicate – never underestimate the value of “tone from the top”. Dare to be vulnerable and lead the way into a development and transparency-based culture. Walk the talk.
– Educate in an engaging way – we don’t all love to delve deep in spread-sheets and regulatory curiosities. Gamification has proven an effective and fun way in creating a compliance culture. Tests and competitions and challenges are other hits. Celebrate knowledge.
– Incentives – this is really key for the “vibrantness” of the compliance culture. The most effective way to stress the importance of doing the right thing is rewarding it. What gets rewarded gets done. Remember though, in a sustainable era incentives doesn’t have to be about the big bonus or the good old rewards-program with the crystal vases and lawn mowers. Research now shows there are alternative measures and triggers for us feeling honored and rewarded. We will talk more on those measures in the next article, so stay tuned.