If you’ve ever done Process Improvements then you’ll know that people that work in Risk and Compliance or Regulatory or Legal roles are the spawn of Satan themselves and the only joy that penetrates their black, black hearts is the knowledge that they are going to be able to destroy your Process Improvement.

Okay. I’m joking. They’re not the spawn of Satan. In fact, they’re wonderful people. But equally, you’ll know that sometimes it’s been difficult to get a Process Improvement through the implemented due to people in Risk and Compliance roles. And the reason for this is quite simple. Their job is to look at a process and come up with a way to create the least amount of risk. The zero risks are what they’re measured on. No one is going to thank them later if a small amount of people have to be paid compensation or if a regulator leave is fine.

No matter if it’s big or small no firm wants this at all and so your legal and compliance and regulatory people are there to prevent that from, occurring at any cost and this is the important bit. It’s cost, right? Because I’ve observed processes where the mitigation of the risky grossly outweighs what the risk they’re trying to prevent happening in the first place. So, it’s just not metric that you’re used to. It’s not a measure that they’ve ever been told to look at. Their job is to take the dimmest view of regulations and laws so that the company is protected as much as it can be.

They’re not out to get you. Sometimes, when you’re dealing with your colleagues in legal and compliance and regulatory roles, you’re dealing with the person who might have put in the process that you’re trying to unwind. So, it’s a really difficult conversation if you go to someone and say, “I want to change all these, I want to get rid of what I want to remove this. I don’t think there’s any need to do that.” When they’re the person who said all those things had to happen in the first place. It’s just human nature that you’re said all those things had to happen in the first place. It’s just human nature that you’re going to not suddenly turn around and say “Yeah you’re right. What was I thinking? That was stupid.”

So you need to approach it very differently. You need to think about, what it is that they were trying to achieve and how your revised process, your new process is going to help them still achieve that or present the least risk possible to the organisation. Now, that might mean extended piloting. That might mean you test and learn, that might be acknowledging the great work that they’ve done but working with them to come up with an alternative approach but achieves the same goal of really low risk. But achieves your goal of being a better process. And oftentimes these processes are not great for a customer either. But they’re there to protect the organisation from future liabilities.

So next time you’re butting heads with your Risk and Compliance and Regulatory colleagues, don’t think of them as a barrier to overcome. Engage them. Think about what they’re trying to achieve and how together you can both win as a result of your Process Improvement.