The Toughest Challenges for Ethics and Compliance Managers

I have a simple theory that is tested and personally experienced: you cannot have business ethics without personal ethics in place.

While sounding logical and simple, the challenges facing Ethics and Compliance leaders are nothing but that. In fact, creating values based cultures that are honest, accountable, and responsible is akin to learning how to pole vault.

The barriers are high and clearing them requires significant effort and unfiltered processes.

What are some of the top challenges ethics & compliance leaders face?

1) Getting employee buy-in and commitment to true ethical behavior. This can only take place when employees see leaders live their values and make them a core strategy. Following the leader is a door that swings both ways good and bad.

2) Getting support from the executive team and changing the view of compliance function as another cost center. All too often non-revenue functions are improperly classified and degraded. Ethics and compliance is important as driving sales.

3) Fighting against an existing “turn a blind eye” culture and settle for business always being conducted a certain way. In my almost four decades of business at every level, time and time again I see organizations unwilling to change paralyzed by leaders placing their own interests first. It is dangerous and viral in every way.

4) Managing an effective global program that complies with unique and often contradicting local laws. This area is highly vulnerable to shortcuts taking place and circling around what is legal. In short pay to play, bribery, and even extortion are becoming more common and placing organizations at great peril.

5) Educating, monitoring, and managing activities of third parties to ensure ethical enforcement and compliance. Some of the biggest fraud has occurred when organizations relax and assume that their ethics and compliance programs are working with third parties.

I am a proponent of never dropping my guard down and being fully prepared.

As I previously stated, failure to take the proper precautions with strong ethics and compliance programs creates blind spots that are deadly.

It takes daily effort and focus to live purposeful personal and business lives.

My friends please remember this: respect, consideration, and courtesy matter a lot. Treat others fairly, decently, and equally.

Build your moral compasses carefully and always monitor them daily.

You know the battle cry: do your best each day. No one can ask more or less from any of us.

All the best/blessings, Mark


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