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You need to standardize your compliance guidance—because of bad bathrooms.

Earlier this week, I recorded an episode of Leona Lewis' Masters of Disaster podcast.

We talked about our standardized icons, and one of the questions Leona asked was why it was relevant to standardize stuff like this.

And my response was "because bathrooms." And I said that because an analogy to bathrooms—specifically, bad public bathrooms—is the fastest way to explain this.


Why you hate cutesy bathroom signs.

I want you to think about a time when you’ve gone to a really well-themed restaurant.

The kind where there’s been an incredible attention to detail applied to every part of the experience, so that you could tell the owners and managers really wanted you to have a good time.

The menu, the decor, the servers' apparel, everything.

And then I want you to remember what it was like to go to the bathrooms there—where, instead of “men/women” or “unisex,” they had some goofy themed way to divide up which bathroom was which.

And you couldn't tell which one you were supposed to use.

Or if it didn't matter, because maybe they were both unisex.

So you stood there, awkwardly looking from door to door, hoping someone would come out of one of them.

And then you slowly, slowly opened the door you thought was the right one, just in case you were wrong.

How did you feel?


Pretty much everyone I talk to has a story about a place like this. And when I ask people if they liked those bathroom signs, the answer is always “no.”

Everyone hates feeling dumb—especially when they're trying to comply. Which is precisely what you're trying to do when you are trying to go into the right bathroom.

And what your employees are trying to do when they read your compliance guidance.

And that's why standardization matters.

Because when someone is actively trying to do the right thing, you should make it easy on them. Let them leverage what they already know, and what they've already seen from your other guidance, to know what to do.

Don't be sloppy or cutesy; just keep things simple.

Have your Code, policies, procedures, disclosure forms, and training all sync up—so that your employees can focus on what to do, instead of how to figure out what to do.

And if you need help—that's why we designed the icons.



Standardize your "how" with Speak Broadcat, our icon set designed just for compliance and ethics. 

Check it out!