Case study

๐Ÿšง Friction mapping: 15min of work could heavily impact your sanctions compliance program

To know what compliance measures to take (e.g. screening, training, communication, or automation), you first need to map all existing and potential frictions that prevent an employee to perform the desired action.
In: Case study, Friction, Sanctions


  • Do you struggle with finding the right compliance measures? Do you focus on screening? Automation? Training? Awareness?
  • If you don't know where to start, take 15 minutes to map all frictions that prevent an employee to perform a target behavior.
  • And then, as a compliance measure, you increase or remove the friction.
  • To show you how, I've made a case study about economic sanctions. The target behavior is that Sales detects red flags as early as possible in the prospection phase.

Where to start?

If there is a new regulation to comply with, you sometimes wonder: where do I start?

Let's take the economic sanctions, like the ones against Russia. These are not new as such, but have expanded seriously since the war against Ukraine started at the beginning of 2022.

To comply, you need to take certain measures internally: you need to use new screening procedures, or review your product portfolio. You may need to train specific employee groups on this new thing. And what do you communicate to the rest of the company?

A lot of options.

But what do you do first? What's most important?

How do you prioritize?

To get an immediate grip, I'd recommend reviewing key business processes and mapping all frictions in that process.

This Mini Guide is all about mapping frictions. But in case you wonder "Which business process are actually key?" then I got news for you: this will be a topic for a next Mini Guide ๐Ÿฅณ!

After the friction mapping, you will feel confident about your next steps: about where and when you intervene, as compliance team.

What we will cover below:

  1. What is friction?
  2. Frictions in compliance
  3. Case study: economic sanctions (+ completed template)
  4. My advice

What is friction?

Friction is the time, money, or effort we need to spend doing something.

We want to avoid instinctively friction that we experience or expect. (Of course, it's not the only relevant element in our decision process!).

It makes sense to remove or add friction sometimes:

  • Remove friction: Amazon removed all friction between the moment you think about buying a product and actually buying the product, with the 1-Click Checkout button.
  • Add friction: A parking lot is gated (= friction added) because it's part of the payment process (get a ticket to know the time of entrance) and to control the number of cars (get a ticket to count the number of cars inside).

So friction can be an unnecessary evil, but it can also be a useful tool.

The key is to know how to use that tool.

Oomph! That moment when it hits you that friction can be evil.

Let's see how friction is relevant to our compliance practice.

Frictions in compliance

From a compliance perspective, friction prevents employees - or makes it hard on them - to perform a specific task or behavior.

So, you have two kinds of opportunities to decrease compliance risk:

  • You make it easy for employees to do something: remove friction.
  • You make it difficult for employees to do something: add friction.

To find these opportunities, we must first map all friction in a business process.

And that's what this Mini Guide is all about!

Friction mapping: how?

  1. ๐ŸŽฏ Find a target behavior
  2. โšก๏ธ Find the starting point
  3. โžค Describe all steps from starting point to the target behavior
  4. ๐Ÿšง Describe all frictions employees may have in each step (structural ๐Ÿšง and cognitive ๐Ÿง  frictions)
  5. ๐Ÿ‘ Figure out how changing these frictions will lead to the target behavior.

To explain this, I have made a case study.

Case study: economic sanctions

Companies don't want to mess with economic sanctions.

  • You don't want to do business with a company that is listed on a sanctions regulation.
  • You don't want to do business with a company who does business with a company who does business with a company who does business with a company that is listed, too (this is called an indirect violation of the sanctions regulations).

The business process we choose = prospection by Sales.

The compliance goal = to detect red flags (signals that indicate a sanctions risk) as early in the process as possible. But without unnecessarily blocking or slowing down the business process.

So without further ado, here is the Friction Mapping Case Study: Compliance With Economic Sanctions.

Friction mapping
Case study: sanctions Case study economic sanctions: mapping frictionAudience: Sales (sales team, sales director, account manager)Topic: economic sanctions (here: restricting specific products to sensitive end destinations)Target behavior: spot red flags as early as possible in the sales cyc...

(If you can't view the template above like on a smartphone, use this link.)

You will notice how compliance measures are complementary and serve different goals.

My advice

The title of this Mini Guide starts indeed intentionally with "15min of work".

What I mean is: Don't overthink it.

  • โœ๏ธ Jot down your first thoughts in this template for max. 15min.
  • ๐Ÿ“† Revisit the template a few days later and take another 15min.
  • ๐Ÿ™…โ€โ™€๐Ÿ’โ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ™†โ€โ™€๏ธ Discuss it with a few colleagues from different departments.
  • ๐Ÿงช Experiment and amend depending on results.
  • ๐Ÿ” Repeat for other business processes.

Good luck!

Want feedback?

It would be a pleasure to just quickly set up a call and run you through the friction mapping. Hit the button below to find the right time to call.

Book call


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