While regulators demand red tape (see Wage War on Regulator Imposed Red Tape), the business world at best sees it as a necessary evil and at worst as costly handcuffs. One of the comments a colleague made on that blog was that he thought I would be writing about the need to push back at regulators. I had contemplated it, however, given the current environment in Australia, most of the regulated are looking for how best to meet the regulator’s requirements than to push back.
For those who are not aware of or did not follow closely the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Financial Sector here in Australia, the regulators copped almost as much of a hiding as the corporates that were responsible for the misdeeds. Council Assisting the Commissioner did a very good job of unveiling a too cosy relationship between regulators and those they regulated.
The result is that the pendulum has swung back the other way. Regulators are in no mood for back chat and the regulated are treading carefully. The questions you need to ask yourself are, “How carefully do I need to tread? And, “How can I convince the regulator that our approach is effective and is meeting the spirit of what is required?”
While the regulators have swung from a softer, more collaborative approach to a harder one, that does not mean they can’t listen to reason. With a pro-business conservative government in power at the national level, there will be a natural bent to minimise red tape.
From what I have seen and read, the emphasis of the regulators is not on layering red tape over red tape, it is on enforcement. That is, taking real action against those who breach the rules where the breaches are substantive.
So, if you are entering discussions with a regulator about how you are meeting regulations, can I suggest you dust off that copy of Winning Conversations: How to turn red tape into blue ribbon (by yours truly) and get busy crafting a compelling argument. What’s that, you don’t have a copy? Well, let me know and I will send you one.
And if you want a preview of what is in the book, check out this video of five wonderful internal advisers I helped a couple of weeks ago as they discuss what they had learned about turning red tape into blue ribbon!