Why self-regulation doesn’t work

I recently read a story on the BBC website* about fire doors and how, in the aftermath of the Grenfell disaster, testing of a range of fire doors revealed that 5 brands failed their safety tests.  On top of the issues over the cladding used at Grenfell and apparently in other tower blocks, it seems to me another scary example of self-regulation not working properly.

Of course, there have been other headline-grabbing examples of self-regulation failures – PPI, endowment mortgages, Facebook, Oxfam …

Whilst there are exceptions, often what we read after the event is that processes were put in place and were followed, assurances were sought and received, people appeared to have done everything ‘by the book’ and yet a serious ‘failure’ still occurred. Thus all the boxes get ticked but the end result wasn’t achieved.

I have always worked on the premise that in addition to having the right process and supporting systems, we need to think about people.  Understanding the motivations, fears, etc. of the people who execute the process and getting them to adopt the changes required has always seemed to me the most crucial and most difficult element.  Given the right brains, IT experts and money, designing the process and systems isn’t too hard.  Getting inside the heads of the people involved is a challenge on a different level.

When it comes to regulation and compliance, most people are going to see it as a something that gets in the way of them doing what they want to do.  It’s probably not going to feature in how they are rewarded either, so let’s not be surprised when people try to find ways to get around the system or pay ‘lip service’ to it.

To ‘people’ I would also add ‘outcomes’.  What is actually happening?  The process was designed to achieve a specific result, either to make something happen, or, in the case of regulation and compliance, probably to prevent something happening.   This is where the feedback comes in, often referred to in systems language as a ‘feedback loop’.  This can be the end results or indicators that give us a good idea if the process and systems are delivering.

The same principles can and should be applied in business and in marketing.  Great marketing is built around a model, or process, with supporting systems and trained people who stick to the plan, all underpinned by KPIs and end result measurement (sales) that allows us to continually monitor and improve the process.  When this comes together well, we achieve marketing objectives, support the achievement of business goals and deliver a strong return on investment.

If that sounds like the kind of marketing approach you would like in your business, give us a call on 01905 885 285,or contact us by email and we’ll organise a no-obligation meeting.


*Grenfell Tower: Fire door manufacturers told to address failings https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45024375