CommentaryMay 21st, 2024

Compliance in Motion: Lessons from Seismic Activity to Shampoo Bottles

Compliance in Motion Lessons from Seismic Activity to Shampoo Bottles-2

There's a natural order to the universe.

For example, we don't float off the earth because of gravity. There will always be the story of the birds and the bees. And you will always have to do something within a certain time frame or deadline (this is called “compliance.”)

So, what happens when things do not progress according to the natural order? As an example, during COVID, when everyone was at home, seismologists observed a lot less ambient seismic noise - meaning, the vibrations generated by cars, trains, buses and people going about their daily lives. And in the absence of that noise, earth's upper crust (was) moving just a little less.[1]

Here’s another example: Why, oh why, does the housekeeping staff at almost every hotel, not order the shampoo, the conditioner, and the body wash from left to right, the way it should be?

Do dogs and cats live together? No, they don’t (generally).

So, logically, morally, and spiritually, how can you rationalize putting the conditioner in the left slot position? How does that even happen? If you’ve ever worked in a hotel (I haven’t), is this a housekeeping conversation? I just don't understand how this isn’t managed.

I would proffer to you, my readers, under the natural course of events, we have to pay careful attention to our actions and what we are doing every day, both personally and professionally. Whatever you’re doing is (likely) more important than the order of the shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Today though, let’s concentrate on what you are paying attention to on the “professionally” side of your life.

Problems occur naturally, whether we like it or not. Sometimes, they walk into your office; sometimes it’s a phone call. Oftentimes, you hear a snippet of a conversation and you are not exactly sure what it means, but it doesn’t sound very good. As professionals who work at dealerships, we need to first identify what is truly a problem and what is not. (It’s not always as obvious as it seems, so we need to drill into this issue.) Drill, baby, drill!

What does a problem look like? If you ask me, (and you are by virtue of your reading this), a problem can also be defined broadly as anything which might result in an insurance “claim.”

In insurance lingo/language, a claim is very broadly construed. Here’s the definition of the word “claim” from Black’s Law Dictionary:[2]

“to demand as one’s own or as one’s right; to assert; to urge; to insist. Cause of action. Means by or through which claimant obtains possession or enjoyment of privilege or thing. Demand for money or property, (e.g. insurance claim.)”

Thinking even more expansively, consider the definition of a claim from a Director’s & Officers insurance policy according to Chubb Insurance:[3]

With a few edits, Claim means…

  1. written demand first received by an Insured for monetary or non-monetary relief, including injunctive relief;
  2. civil proceeding commenced by the service of a complaint or similar pleading;
  3. criminal proceeding commenced by: (a) an arrest, or (b) a return of an indictment, information or similar document;
  4. formal administrative or formal regulatory proceeding commenced by the filing of a notice of charge, formal investigative order or similar document;
  5. arbitration or mediation proceeding commenced by receipt of a demand for arbitration, demand for mediation or similar document; or
  6. official request for Extradition, against an insured person for a wrongful act, including any appeals therefrom;
  7. civil, criminal, administrative or regulatory investigation or interview of an insured person for a wrongful act once such insured person is identified in writing by any investigating authority as a target of such investigation or interview, including when such insured person is serving with a target letter or similar document; or
  8. written request first received by an Insured to toll or waive a statute of limitations relating to a potential Claim…

That definition is:

  • Overly thorough,
  • Detailed, and
  • Lengthy

Now, you are saying to yourself, “So what? Why are you telling me this? What’s the big deal here?”

What could be a claim at the store? What could cost you money, whether you’re a sales agent or dealer? Can you smell, touch, foresee or recognize a problem which is in its infancy but you can see it growing to a big problem?

What are you doing about it? Could you fix it? If you aren’t authorized to fix it, can you get your manager involved immediately?

There's an axiom in risk mitigation, which says, “your first loss is the best loss.” (We’ve discussed this on another occasion in a different context.)

This notion means that the sooner you take care of resolving a problem, the less expensive it will be to fix. Sometime, if you handle it promptly, it will cost nothing.

If you are lazy… and act as if - you are the housekeeping department as described above - the problem may grow bigger and more stinky. (Pun intended since we are talking about soap.)

We should all strive to fix problems as they arise, as it will be the least expensive to the dealership. As good stewards, it is important to think about, even dwell on, potential problems that you see at the store. Most often, it is customer issues which tend to evolve into larger challenges and difficulties. Every day, look for anything which might be a potential “Claim,” and find a way to resolve them. If you don’t know how, or it isn’t your place, ask your manager for help.

So, in a way, it is your job to put the bottles in the right order. And, that’s truly the natural order of the universe.

  1. “The coronavirus pandemic is making Earth vibrate less” by Harmeet Kaur, April 3, 2020

  2. Black’s Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition, 1979.

  3. Chubb Insurance Forefront Portfolio 3.0 sm, Directors & Officers and Entity Liability Coverage Part 14-02-17271 (04/2011)

    A dealership franchise owner for thirty years, Tom is now the Lead Consultant & Founder of Better Vantage Point, providing Dealer Dispute, Compliance and Risk Mitigation Solutions.

    Tom also spearheads Tuck The Octopus which helps dealerships proactively manage governance, risk and compliance which has a direct impact on the customer experience.

    View full profile
    Curated, quality insights?
    Content worth the click