Build your organisation on compliance, don't lay it on top as it will just be a burden, not a support

Being compliant should be foundational not a facade2 min read

Keeping in line with regulations and standards does tend to be an afterthought for many, if not most, organisations.  It is felt by many that focusing on being compliant stifles innovation and growth.  However, is that a reasonable approach to starting and running with an idea?

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” – Henry David Thoreau, Waldens

This quote alludes to what needs to be done with an innovative idea.  At some point it needs foundations or anchoring in the world.  The world is governed by law, regulation, ethics and standards.  Unless ideas can be found a firm basis with these then they may just float away.

Imagine placing weights on the basket of a hot air ballon. Once all the fuel was spent trying to keep float, the extra burden would quickly see the craft plummet to the ground.  However, throw out tethers from the basket and anchor them to strong moorings.  Then the ballon continues to float, fuel use is minimised and it doesn’t blow away.

Your options

So it is with an organisation developing an idea, you have options:

  • Option 1: Don’t bother with being compliant, and see the idea fly with the wind, out of sight and dangerously out of control
  • Option 2: Weigh the idea down with hefty compliance measures, audits and checklists. Watch whilst the team works to try to keep the idea in the air with the extra burden but eventually run out of capacity, funds or desire and it crashes, possibly never to fly again
  • Option 3: Tether the idea to strong foundations that control the scope and distance drawing in and letting out the rope until it proves stable.  Then tie off all the other compliance anchors before showing the solution off to the world.

Key to this final option is knowing which are the most effective regulations and standards on which to anchor. This will differ for each idea and industry, but finding a quick way to identify the most significant vulnerabilities and what actions to take should be a high priority for any project.


Gydeline is a product which allows users to assess their organisations against a number of ‘anchors’ and provide you with a quick view on what to focus.

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