A“compliance program,” especially when combined with ethics, can be all-encompassing and can fall
victim to mission creep. Most in our field—
by their nature—are engaged, dedicated
people of action who are willing to pitch
in and help as needed. But that
inclination can lead to a lack of
focus. Similarly, a newly formed
ethics and compliance program
can suffer from lack of engagement
and understanding: “What exactly
do you do?” Finally, many of us
are interested in expanding our
skills and adding value, but when
do we say yes, and when do we say no?
Having a 3-year plan can set the guardrails
for mission creep, provide a quick response
to that question, and clarify where your
“next value add” should fall. A plan can
push you to stretch your objectives. A plan
can help you take your program to higher
levels of achievement and help ensure that
you, as a compliance professional, remain
engaged and learning. Finally, the execution
of the plan leads to efficiency in measuring
success and reporting.
This article provides a road map for this
planning process, starting with the beginning
brainstorming through to the planning, metric
setting, and execution. It provides tips on how
to maintain and manage to the plan, using
simple table tools in Word, with examples
for clarification. This basic planning process
can be adapted (such as for a 5-year plan) as
needed to meet programmatic needs.
Start with the big picture and brainstorm
The beginning point is to start with an open
mind and the “big picture.” This really
works best if you take a retreat with your
team, or if you are an office of one, block out
at least several hours to focus. This is your
opportunity to think outside of the box.
Ask open-ended questions. Where do we
personally want to be in three years? Where
do we want this program to be in three
years? Where is our industry moving in
terms of change? Where is this organization
moving? What are we doing well? What are
we not doing well? What are we having fun
doing? Where can we make the most impact
with the least amount of effort? What can we
scale? As with any brainstorming session,
» Compliance programs are subject to mission drift.
» Having a clear 3‑year plan will focus your limited resources on your highest priorities.
» Use the planning effort to stretch your goals for success.
» Once set, with metrics for success in place, use the plan for day‑to‑day operations, as well as for clear reporting.
» The plan provides a focus when new ideas or new opportunities arise.
by Charlotte D. Young
A three-year mapping
effort: Focus on compliance