HOW TO BE A WILDLY EFFECTIVE COMPLIANCE OFFICER
Get in your lane!
“Hey buddy, get in your lane!” We’ve all seen someone’s car drifting between two lanes,
taking up space, and confusing those around
them. It’s a dangerous nuisance, and it can
cause chaos or an accident.
The same is true with compliance
programs. It pays to know which
lane you’re in, and not to bob and
weave back and forth, confusing all
the people around you. Compliance
programs generally fall into one
of three lanes: leading, laggard, or
A leading compliance program is one that is
charging forth, defining best practices, and
breaking ground on new techniques, keeping
the company ahead of regulatory expectations.
A laggard compliance program is one that
trundles along behind the pack. It isn’t trying
to lead, or even to keep up. It lumbers along,
and no one in the business seems to mind.
The majority of compliance programs fall into
the aligned category. They strive to be aligned
with regulatory expectations and to do just
enough to blend in with everyone else.
Whether you’re working in a leading,
laggard, or aligned compliance program, the
most important thing is to know which lane
you’re in. If you’re in a laggard program and
you’re trying to swerve into a leading one
within the same company, you’ll confuse
and irritate people. Likewise, if you’re in an
aligned company and you pump the brakes to
switch into the laggard lane, people could run
Mirror, signal, manoeuver
In Britain, to pass your driver’s test, you must
learn to “mirror, signal, manoeuvre.” This
means you must carefully look around you
(using your mirrors), then signal to let others
know you’re going to change lanes, and only
then manoeuver to change position.
It’s like this in compliance as well. If
you want to change lanes, you need first to
look around you to ensure that it’s safe. Is
management in a place where change will be
welcome? Have new regulations made it safe
for you to request more resources to bring
your program to the next level?
Next, signal — tell people that the program
will be changing. Let them know in advance
that shifts are going to come.
And last — manoeuvre. Changing lanes
smoothly after looking around and warning
people will make the transition easy. Heck,
done well, someone might even give you the
“thank you” wave when you finish. ✵
by Kristy Grant‑Hart
Kristy Grant-Hart ( KristyGH@SparkCompliance.com) is the
Managing Director of Spark Compliance Consulting in London,
and author of the book, How to be a Wildly Effective Compliance
Officer. ComplianceKristy.com @KristyGrantHart