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‘Someone Has to do Something at Some Point in Time’

Do you stop at stop signs on private property?

I don’t think you can get a ticket if you don’t…and no one is looking. So, do you stop? There are generally two schools of thought here: Those who are of the philosophy “no cop, not stop” because if enforcement is not immediately visible, the risk of penalty does not impress them enough to influence behavior. Then there are those who are rule followers: Voluntarily choosing to internalize the idea a few seconds of extra effort expended now is a reliable hedge against a whole lot of potential heartache and cost later.

Almost everyone would agree collision with another vehicle (or even worse a pedestrian) is an outcome well worth avoiding. Why then are some people reluctant toward expending the small extra effort and time necessary to follow a rule unless someone is watching them?

How does this relate to daily work tasks throughout the auto sales and finance industry?

It’s imperative for businesses to encourage colleagues and team members to practice doing “the right things” when no one is looking. Are stakeholders in your operation taking the small extra efforts needed to steer clear of collisions (both metaphorical and actual) each day? Are you?

Consider this: In business, each of us are constantly asked to effectively meet expectations whether there are “authorities” observing us or not. This includes details such as meeting deadlines, satisfying customer requests effectively, and being forthright team members for our colleagues. We are counted on to do these things reliably, and when all stakeholders do so with consistency and predictability, the operation thrives!

Cultivating this business culture of consistency and predictability….a culture of many individuals each doing their jobs in a systematic manner designed to avoid future “collisions” even when no one is looking over them…. boils down to a simple dynamic: Someone has to do something, at some point in time. Consistently. That’s it.

Another word for that dynamic? Compliance.

Generally, we don’t think of compliance broadly. The term tends to get pigeonholed as “having to comply with… (fill in the name of a rule or regulation here)” and not as part of the fuller fabric of all company operations.

In some companies there’s even a dedicated compliance department, siloed away from other operational divisions and occasionally viewed as a tower of dark mystery.

I would assert when done correctly compliance is deeply woven into the fabric of everyone’s daily undertakings, even when they are not labeled specifically as compliance tasks. Compliance enforcement shouldn’t be entirely reliant on a separate overwatching department, but rather integrated seamlessly in each instance “someone” does “something” at “some point in time”. And each of those thousands of “points in time” should be guided by the same internal force to do the right thing, which inspires a conscientious person to brake at a lonely stop sign in a private parking lot. Compliance should be the cultural force integral within the people and tasks of all departments.

The most forward-thinking owners/CEOs consider compliance as an essential part of their business activities and consider it with the same weight as other parts of their business. These businesses have policies, want them followed, and will ensure tasks are being completed in the way they outline. Simply, it’s the backbone of their business as it helps avoid collisions.

Performing “compliance” tasks falls into the same category as pulling a monthly financial statement. Even attending a sales meeting becomes a compliance activity when you think of it as someone has to do something at some point in time. Your departments are operating this way on a daily basis; you inherently might not have previously thought of it in this context.

There are software solutions to manage these compliance tasks. These tools can help ease the burden of these numerous and vital tasks. Software reduces the need for a lot of manual efforts and results in a more agile and cost-effective backbone and framework.

We are all working under a compliance paradigm, which means following your company’s policies. Policies protect the company, itself, and, ultimately, each employee’s job.
No matter which part of the business you work in, when you take shortcuts, you create potential business problems. Unresolved, they can become legal problems which could be perilous to your company. This is the genesis of why compliance is critical for success. You have to do something at some point in time to avoid accidents…including at the stop sign!

Tom Kline
Tom Kline
Tom Kline is founder and lead consultant of Better Vantage Point LLC. Kline specializes in solving problems through risk mitigation remedies, compliance, and dispute resolution. [email protected]
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