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Are You Creating Compliance Or Co-operation?

“None of us is as smart as all of us.”

– Ken Blanchard

We’re only a few days away from the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the US.

If you’re of a certain vintage, I’m sure like me you can remember exactly where you were the day it happened.

I’m not that keen to revisit those events but a new documentary had been recommended to me so I decided to dip into it – 9/11: Turning Point.

To be fair, it’s very well made and goes deeper into the horrific events of 2001 by exploring the likely causes due to the history of US intervention in other countries.

One particular segment struck a chord with me.

A former FBI agent, who is an expert in interrogation, was been interviewed about the controversial ‘enhanced interrogation’ techniques that the US brought in with detainees in Guantanamo Bay.

Water boarding was one of these measures.

The expert was saying that there is no proof that this type of interrogation ever gave them intelligence that really made a significance difference in the ‘War On Terror’.

In essence he was saying that ‘enhanced interrogation’ just gets compliance i.e. the people will tell you anything just to make you stop the torture.

He said the better approach was an approach based on mutual trust that created co-operation and that it was possible even with people who would be seen as ‘hard to break’.

Compliance Vs. Co-operation….

You can imagine how heated the arguments on both sides of that equation would get!

For me, I think it’s a very interesting comparison and it made me think about my own approach not just in business but also in life.

For example, my intent might be to seek co-operation but perhaps my behaviour is doing the opposite and creating compliance?

Any serious leader (or indeed parent) needs to consider this deeply.

Just because you believe in co-operation or collaboration doesn’t mean you are creating it. Maybe the people around you are in compliance mode, just telling you what you want to hear…

How will you know the difference?

If no-one around you is challenging you or saying something you don’t like or agree with, then it’s likely there is a compliance culture around you.

In the documentary referenced here, the US were often quoted as saying that it’s very hard to fight an enemy you can’t see.

This is also true in every organisation or indeed in your life. What we can’t see hurts us.

This might be worth your time in exploring this week…



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