Category: Compliance Career Advice

Category: Compliance Career Advice

The Future of Compliance

Last week I attended my first in-person conference in two years.

The conference was the ‘Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics’ (SCCE) in Las Vegas, and the theme was “the future of compliance.”

That promise was delivered!

Here’s what the future of compliance looks like…

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10 Ways to Supercharge Your Network in 1 Minute

I’ve been thinking a lot about the relationships in our industry and how we foster them for the long term.

But who has time for hours of networking?

We know that relationships are critical but taking the time to foster them can be hard. The answer is found in little activities that create big feelings of connection.

So, here are 10 ways that take less than a minute to supercharge your network and relationships.

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A Simple Way to Quickly Improve Performance

Let’s think back to your last major blunder.

You probably agonized over it, right?

You kept going over and over what you did wrong and how you could avoid doing that again in the future.

Sound familiar?

But what about those times you got it completely right?

Let’s have a think about them…

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Five Ways to Overcome Compliance Fatigue

People are fatigued. From endless Zoom calls to children failing to remote learn, exhaustion is more rampant than ever. All of this fatigue leads to stress. People under stress have less patience and ability to focus. That can easily extend to their feelings toward compliance, leading to compliance fatigue. “Compliance fatigue” refers to exhaustion with compliance-related topics. In this time it’s easier than ever for people to feel that compliance is just one more thing that they have to deal with.

While the job of the compliance officer is to “keep calm and compliance on,” there may be more pushback than normal because of people’s heightened stress levels. At times like this, we need a plan. Here are five ways to overcome (or at least combat) compliance fatigue.

No. 1: Mix it Up

The same-old, same-old gets to be just that – old. When you’re trying to recapture your audience, try something new. There are many creative companies in the compliance field ready to help. The Broadcat has an entire suite of pre-created communications devices employing cartoon characters and quippy sayings. Compliance Wave’s short burst cartoon training is famous for its eye-catching style, and Real Biz Shorts has a library of entertaining (mostly US-centric) videos that quickly capture attention.

If you don’t have access to these tools, you can make a cartoon yourself using You can also use to create materials like infographics. You can download PowerPoint and Google Docs templates that include interesting graphics. Whatever you do, bring humor and a catchy look to your communications or training to mix it up.

No. 2: Re-work Your Schedule

Take a look at your annual training and communications plan. Then ask HR, Security, Sustainability/CSR, IT, and anyone else who regularly deploys training and communications to send you their training and comms plan. Look carefully to see where the calendar is most open. Fit your plan around all of the other functions so that the people you need to train aren’t worn out by having training from multiple functions. People don’t differentiate one training activity from another. For compliance professionals, anti-bribery training is completely different than cyber training, but to the average employee, training is training.

It may be uncomfortable to move your schedule around. If you typically celebrate Ethics & Compliance Week in November, it may feel weird to move it to June. However, if June is the best place to put it based on the schedule, go ahead and move it. Impact is more important than keeping things moving according to plan.

No. 3: Shorten it Up…

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The Top Five Traits of the Best Compliance Officers

One of the great joys of consulting is being able to see so many companies from the inside out. This week Spark Compliance Consulting reached its fifth anniversary (!). That milestone had me thinking about what I’ve learned from watching how hundreds of compliance programs work. I’ve learned what works – and what doesn’t work. I’ve also learned to spot who works well, and who doesn’t.

Tony Robbins famously said that success leaves clues. There are commonalities present in those who become wildly successful in their compliance officer jobs. The titans of our industry and the rising starts have similar traits – those that predispose these people to greatness and, when honed, create singularly great compliance officers. These are the top five traits that they share and how you can nurture them in yourself.

Trait One: Curiosity

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines curiosity as “inquisitive interest in others’ concerns,” and “interest leading to inquiry.” A person with an inquisitive nature gives others a great gift – that of attention. In our frenzied modern era, one of the most craved-for things is the undivided attention of others.

A curious person uses their inquisitive interest in others’ concerns to drive them to understand how and why things happen in the company and the lives of their co-workers. This knowledge aggregates, culminating in a unique vantage point from which to make decisions. The more knowledgeable the compliance officer is about the company’s operations, the more able they are to tailor the program to its needs. But perhaps more so, the more information the compliance officer has about the people in the company, the better the program can be structured to meet the employees’ needs.

To nurture curiosity in yourself, begin with the question, “I wonder why that is?” When someone has a vastly different opinion than you do, or they do things in ways that don’t make sense to you, instead of judging, choose to be curious about their thought process. Ask questions. Pay attention. Act like a scientist or observer. Your attention will draw out others to tell you about why and how they do what they do, making you more effective in your response.

Trait Two: Tenacity…

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They Hate Me. What do I do?

My client called me in a panic. “They hate me. What do I do? How do I handle this?” For over a year, my client (we’ll call her Amanda) had been working on an investigation in Eastern Europe. The investigation had been long and slow, leading everyone to be exhausted, including her. As the investigation wrapped up, two senior leaders were fired for misconduct, leaving resentment and anger in the officer. In response, management decided to relocate Amanda, parachuting her into Romania to keep an eye on things and revamp the culture. People were cold and didn’t answer her calls.

What was she to do? And more importantly, what are you to do when you perceive robust distrust and anger in pockets of your organization? Remember six things.

You’re here to Get a Job Done

First, remember that you’re here to do a job. While resentment or mistrust may be present, in the end, it doesn’t matter whether everyone likes you. You’re in the organization to drive an ethical culture and ensure compliance with the law. In the face of indignation, remember that your mission is critical. By holding tight to your purpose, you can weather the resistance.

You are Not Your Job…

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A Perfect Strategy for Overcoming Overwhelm

Imagine for a moment that you’re a brand new salesperson and you’ve been tasked with selling a $200 million piece of machinery within the next sixty days. You would likely be totally overwhelmed and not know where to start. If you went to your boss for advice, you would likely get a surprising answer: “Forget about selling the machinery. Just get to the next ‘yes’.”

When launching a large initiative like an overhaul of the Code of Conduct, there can be so much to do and so many people to engage that the task can seem overwhelming. When the stakes are high for an important project, it is easy to feel crushing pressure. This is especially true when the project is highly visible at the company.

Instead of getting overwhelmed, just focus on getting to the next yes.

How this Strategy Works in Sales

Let’s go back to our sales task. When you map out the road to victory, you decide that your first job is to identify and then cold-call 30 potential customers. The next goal will be to get a spot on the prospect’s calendar to discuss the product. Thereafter, you’ll need a video conference to show the product and see if there is interest. The next job will be to get the client to request a proposal. After that, there’s contract negotiation, then the final sale.

What should you focus on? That’s right – identifying 30 potential customers and having at least one say yes to the calendar invite. The big win needs to be the next win, which is simply a calendar slot.

How to Use this Strategy in Compliance…

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How Do I Get Into International Compliance? Part II

Last week I began answering a reader’s question about how she could get a role in international compliance when she only had experience within her country.  My first advice was to study the international laws that affect her business (Click HERE to read Part I).  In addition to learning about the law, there are several other things that she or you can do to increase your chances of moving into global compliance. 

Plan a Visit to Your Company’s International Office(s)

If you want to get into international compliance at your current company, try to find a reason to have a business trip to an international office.  Perhaps you can schedule your next meeting in in South America or Europe?  Maybe you can do your next internal investigation in person? 

If there’s no budget or reason to send you abroad, you can always plan your vacation to a place with a significant company office.  Let’s say you want your remit to expand to Europe.  Can you plan a vacation to Spain and work one day in the Madrid office?  Can you head to South Africa and meet the Cape Town-based legal and compliance team while you’re there? 

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