When participating in the Isle of Man’s parish walk it gives you many hours of thinking time to take your mind off the fact that your feet are slowly resembling an extra from Casualty, I started to recall a number of articles I had read of late and how they can be applied to the challenges of a long walk and conversely in business by increasing regulatory challenges.

It has struck me more over the number of years now that the ideal shape for a parish walk participant is 6ft 2 and 9 stone – somewhat akin to a sleek Ferrari as they seem to effortlessly accelerate away from the starting line. I regrettably am more of the Morris Minor style – a classic in its day, slightly underpowered for its size, possibly temperamental on steep climbs and over long distances may have difficulty with tyres.

However somewhat like approaching the increasingly complex network of regulatory requirements, whatever the size, shape or capacity of your business, careful planning and taking appropriate precautions can minimise your risks. As with many organisations of our size, Boston has developed a clear regulatory matrix of policies, procedures, internal conduct loops and risk and periodic reviews to ensure that the ‘engine’ is reliable and enables us to proceed in a compliant manner. Increasingly Compliance is less about obtaining client due diligence but is an integral part of business acceptance and business maintenance programs and regular ‘updates’ and ‘top ups’ are needed to keep the engine running. Such with this year’s parish walk being such a scorcher so it was more important than ever to have a good back up team and regular updates and top ups to ensure that I was able to reach my goal.

By 14 miles in I was 45 mins ahead of my personal best and feeling so good that I may actually be able to go further than I had originally anticipated. Regrettably it was at this point that to use a F1 term ‘ the tyres began to bald-spot’ that a niggle became a constant painful companion. My mind then had to change gear and armed with my mobile ensure that my back up team were aware of the change of requirements at the next meeting point. As a distraction, my mind clicked over once again to how common this occurs in Compliance, where a change in regulation or interpretation requires the business to change its plans and only by being flexible and adjusting its requirements can it progress at same speed and if acting proactively allow you to exceed your expectations.

Now where does Sir Chris Hoy come into this ….. well by 18.5 miles my pace had slowed materially and although my target was in sight the flow of walkers overtaking me was sapping my energy along with two feet done ‘rare to very rare’! As luck would have it I was listening to his autobiography and he was recalling that if you want to succeed you have to think you have given it all, then give that 10% more if you really want something badly. Well nothing quite as dramatic as his achievements but it did spur me on to keep going despite the level of discomfort.

At the end I was happy to have reached my goal, outside my personal best but enough of a challenge in its own way, thinking how easy it would have been to retire. Riding home in the car (driving was not an option) I thought to the start of the working week and realised that although you can plan for most things it is also important to respect your own limitations, and that by applying an appropriate flexible plan to any project you can minimise the risk of failure and maximise the chance to reach or exceed your goal be they personal or professional.