Corporate Commitment – The First Ingredient of Success

This week’s post comes from Bill Robinson, Founder and President of Stormwater Risk Management, LLC and ComplianceWise Technologies, LLC in Denver, Colorado. Bill also serves as Treasurer of the Mountain States Chapter of IECA.

Bill’s business model at SRM is reflects my own mission as he helps good people get better at managing stormwater – not doing the work for them, but helping them to transform their company and culture to the point where compliance is simply a collateral benefit of how they get the job done.

This is the first of a five part recipe Bill will share with us over the next several months. I’m sure Bill would appreciate any comments or discussion you have to offer.


Corporate Commitment 

Creating a successful stormwater program is like baking a cake. If you leave out any of the key ingredients, like your cake, your program will fall flat. With fines of up to $37,500 per day per violation, you may not be able to stomach the results of a failed program. There are basically only five ingredients to a cost-effective, sustainable stormwater compliance program.

The first and most important ingredient is making a Corporate Commitment to achieve regulatory compliance.boardroom

But, before ownership or upper-level management can make a real commitment they must have some idea of what they are committing the company to. They need to know what will be required of their employees to achieve compliance goals and clearly communicate that expectation to everyone in the organization. If left to the folks at the project or facility level, complying with many of the regulatory requirements often doesn’t seem to make common sense, or, may seem counter to project goals like saving money or cutting time out of the schedule. Therefore, compliance probably won’t happen unless the employee is certain that following the regulations is always the right priority.

Because the stormwater regulations are relatively new to our industry, many executives didn’t have to deal with them during their own field careers. They find the level of stormwater regulatory expectations hard to believe until a stop work order is issued or they suffer through an enforcement action on one of their projects. Most folks in the field have a better understanding of the current expectations and are willing and able to do what is required. They need to know meeting those expectations is important to the company and they need to be provided the training and the tools to get the job done right. Providing them the right tools is another commitment the company must make. The next article in this series talks about implementing a standardized management system which is the most important compliance tool a company can employ.

Executives should be encouraged to know that Corporate Commitment is by far the easiest of the five ingredients to implement. It really is as easy as making the decision to comply with the regulations, empower the employees with the training and tools they need and then commit 30 minutes each month thereafter to follow through. It may even be easier than baking a cake!


For help with leading up and getting your leadership on board, also read “It’s cheaper to pay the fine.”

3 thoughts on “Corporate Commitment – The First Ingredient of Success

  • Real commitment doesn’t come all that easy. I keep this quote from Scotsman, W. H. Murray, on my desk to encourage and challenge me. Anyone, corporate leader or otherwise who’s persevered through the ups and downs that follow commitment to an ideal, knows the truth of these words: “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

  • Bob, I shared the quote with my family and with a group Sunday morning. I have found it to be so true in my life – once I finally make the decision (it could take years), Things usually work out much better than I could have imagined (Providence steps in). Thanks for sharing.

  • Bob,
    It is difficult to describe to others the joy of feeling the planets align for an idea or concept you feel strongly about and, often despite the odds, took the plunge to implement. W.H. Murray’s quote is inspiring and I too will put it somewhere prominent in my office. Witnessing one’s concept or creation take hold in the minds of others and seeing it result in positive outcomes is extremely rewarding.
    Because most construction executives don’t claim environmental regulatory compliance as their primary interest or business, we have learned to temper our initial corporate commitment expectations. Some of our program’s most committed executives took a year, or longer, to grow their environmental commitment to the point where it was self-sustaining. We learned to start small, only asking that execs commit to implementing our standardized approach to compliance. Then, after some successes, we slowly increase their involvement over the months. As their overall investment in compliance accumulates over time, so does their commitment.
    Similar to love deepening over time in a good marriage.

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