By Roy Snell
Listen to compliance professionals even if they don’t carry tear gas or put you in a headlock.
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Wikipedia Definition of Pain Compliance; “Pain compliance is the use of painful stimulus to control or direct a person or animal. The stimulus can be manual (brute force, placing pressure on painful areas, or use of painful hyperextension or hyperflexion on joints), use tools such as a whip or electroshock weapon, or use chemicals such as tear gas or pepper spray. The purpose of pain compliance is to direct the actions of the subject, and to this end, the pain is lessened or removed when compliance is achieved. This provides incentive to the subject to carry out the action required.”
People who don’t deal with material ethical and regulatory problems in business will eventually feel pain. Sometimes the longer you put off dealing with a problem, the greater the pain will be. The pain comes in several forms such as fines, penalties, stress, bad public relations, increased legal costs, jail time, reduced revenue, dropping stock prices, etc. Some problems are discovered, but ignored for years, by a company before the pain is applied; such as Enron, HealthSouth and Penn State University.
Compliance pain, is applied long after you had a chance to prevent, find or fix a problem. The aforementioned companies all experienced “Compliance Pain” because they did not experience pain compliance when they created the compliance problem. Of course it would be outrageous for a compliance officer to use pain compliance techniques such as tear gas to prevent a problem before it occurs. What are we to do, hurl tear gas canisters in a meeting room as a bad decision is being made? That is ridiculous but I bet some of these aforementioned companies would have preferred a little tear gas when they thought of the bad idea rather than suffer societies “compliance pain” later. The moral of the story is simple, listen to your compliance professional even if they don’t carry whips, tear gas, stun guns or occasionally put you in a headlock.