Compliance & Talent – where is the real problem?

The word “compliance” elicits a little bit of a scare and this has been used widely to implement anything that is warranted. Using compliance as a tool to implement important things has become a norm, especially in cultures where following processes is not natural. While the quantity of non compliance usually garners attention, in recent times the quality of non compliance seems to get discussed. The main challenge around qualitative aspects of non compliance is the behavioral aspect of people. When one looks deeply at this problem, one always gets stuck with the thought, “Is lack of compliance a behavioral issue at the implementation level or a communication issue at the leadership level?”

In today’s world, where leaders lead organizations or project managers lead teams, every aspect of work is achieved based on what is being instructed and how something is being instructed by the CEO or the manager. When being instructed, the listener’s attention tunes itself to watch every verbal and the non-verbal element of the communication of the instructor (normally the leader/manager) in the organization.

In a large organization, we will have people giving instructions at multiple levels. There will be a department head, VP etc, who will be communicating to the team at various levels on implementation of a particular task. If there is a conflict in the verbal and non-verbal communication made by the people at responsible positions, the employees or the team as a whole get very confused about what is to be followed and what should not be!. This can trigger non-compliance. Many times people are a little hesitant to comply with something being told or newly introduced. This is because they are not clear on the instructions they are receiving. They may see clear conflict between the verbal and non-verbal cues, as well as amongst the various leadership team members.

This applies equally well to small organizations too. May be only the magnitude varies! Sometimes the entrepreneur’s constantly changing stance on issues could also send confusing signals. So maybe a correction in our communication system is the real solution to the problem. A communication method that is coherent, consistent and crisp can shape a community better in a world where processes and systems are progressively gaining more importance. Can we actually start working on the communication aspects rather than sidelining it just as a behavioral aspect of individuals who need to follow the instructions?

Many times entrepreneurs complain that people don’t seem to follow set instructions, don’t seem to understand the entrepreneurial intent well or don’t have enough ownership quotient! This constant complaint and strong ad hoc reviews have resulted in the loss of quality talent amongst start-ups. Communication is an important aspect in leadership especially when it comes to entrepreneurs. They need to give clear, consistent and simple directions to their teams. This will result in greater effectiveness within the team and also in greater resonance of team effort.

Think about it!


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