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007 - Are you successfully managing the decreasing willingness to comply?
20th April 2021 • The Human Factor • Sonja Stirnimann
00:00:00 00:13:08

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Have you ever tried to convince someone without good arguments? Difficult. Therefore, every negotiation specialist would give you the good advice of understanding the resonating arguments leading to the expected goal. The driving reasons.

In this episode you will get ideas how to manage the decreasing willingness to comply within your organisation.

And maybe also detect your own lacking discipline and how to cope with it.

Depending on what area we are focusing on being compliant can be crucial for our organisation and especially for ourselves. Therefore, I am convinced that being aware of a so called Compliance fatigue is important and needs to be identified at the very early stage. Because having it once in our organisation the multiplication is so fast that it takes even more effort to bring it back into the right direction.

What I see – in society and especially also in the corporate world is, that the good arguments of complying are often either missing or not communicated. If it is the latter, there is room for improvement by working on the communication part. If the arguments are missing, we have another significant issue putting the entire organization at risk.

The first questions I would like to ask you to start with is: Are you hitting the crisis fatigue?

Yes, this term of “crisis fatigue” definitively exists and health specialists, know about this symptom for decades.

The actual pandemic is not the first crisis impacting individuals and organizations, but the uniqueness is seen as it all affects us at the same time.

And after more than a year it is also not a short-term limitation to the lives of every individual or organisation anymore. It is essential that we are aware of the symptoms and even more about the root causes. The “crisis fatigue” is a reaction and symptom that grows the longer the crisis lasts.

And we all know, depending on the country and region we are, it lasts for more than 13 months when this episode is recorded and published.

When a person feels they have no control over the current situation (or responsibilities) this can lead to the individual impression or feeling that nothing they do really matters for good.

We could all follow that hiss circumstance can seriously affect a person’s mental and emotional health.

In the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic this fatigue can manifest in carelessness by not following the instructions of

  • social distancing,
  • staying in their home-office
  • and/or wearing masks.

And the longer we are in such extraordinary situations, the higher the risk of the crisis fatigue becomes.

The second question I would like you to reflect on is What does such a “crisis fatigue” mean for corporates and organisations?

Have you ever thought about what “crisis fatigue” could mean in the corporate world? Not only on individual level? In your organisation? I do that on a regular basis – no matter what role I have for the organisation.

Either as board member, CEO or as an advisor. And the longer we are in the current crisis the more frequent I take that topic onto my agenda.

Yes, we are all individuals – acting and being responsible for organisations - and as a Corporate Integrity Counsel and Business leader we must take into consideration that a significant part of our crew is affected by the “crisis fatigueness” too.

It is not only the crew of the other boat!

The topic becomes one on the C-level and often in the board room too. What I still see is, the risk of having to many rules to comply with which are not effectively implemented. Having said that I focus on the implementation process starting at the very beginning.

We are now already heading the third questions and, in my opinion, the most important one what is this rule for?

You can also find another word for “rule” like control, check, test, whatever fits best for your role. I immediately hear all the voices telling me that these rules are implemented for the regulators, auditors, etc.

If that is the case and the rule doeshardly to protect our employees, our business, our partners, our clients our community. There must be something wrong.

Compliance – and even more integrity - helps us to protect our crown jewels – if we do it properly and with the mindset of business-driven compliance.

I will not leave you out of this episode without a short guidance on how you could cope with the increasing “crisis fatigue” but also, with the “compliance fatigue” which does not need to be rooted by a crisis. Sometimes there are specific processes facing this phenomenon.

A short guidance on coping the “crisis fatigue”

·      Communicate: listen and talk to your team, family, friends

·      Awareness: be aware of causes for stress

·      Identify, what you have under control

·      Keep daily work- and personal routines for you and your team

·      Stay in contact and be connected

·      Recognizing changes in behaviour in our environment (at work, family, and friends)

·      SPEAK UP! To your supervisor, colleague, friend, or family.


Which is your next rule you have to re-think to make sure that people understand the goal to avoid “fatigue”?

I am curious to read about it and am looking forward receiving your message via one of the listed channels in my show notes.

Fact is, that the more and longer we must comply the more important is the understanding of the “why” we must do so. The reason behind – the interest – is the main driver for successful compliance. Therefore, our all goal should be to implement rules which are understood.

If we cannot do so on a society level then we should at least start in our families, organizations and wherever we have the power to positively impact.

Do you remember the three questions which also lead to the take-home assignment?

1.   Are you hitting the crisis fatigue?

2.   What does such a “crisis fatigue” mean for corporates and organisations?

3.   what is this rule for?

I am pretty sure it would also be interesting for you to hear the answers of your peers and teams. Maybe your next virtual meeting starts with one of these questions?


Thank you for joining me on this episode of THE HUMAN FACTOR – Corporate Integrity Matters.

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