Compliance is what you do when you try to fit standards set down by someone else. A restaurant chef's compliance with a new sugar-free menu might inspire even the pastry chefs to follow the recipes.
Plywood helps illustrate the "pli" in compliance, because if you've ever stepped on a piece of plywood stretched across something, you've felt how it gives underneath your feet. It has flexibility. Compliance means being flexible or yielding and giving in to a situation or order. "Pliant" is part of the word compliance, and it means yielding. Agreeing or bending to something like a plan, rule, or direction is compliance.