I recently saw the performance of King Lear with Glenda Jackson as the mad king. It was a magnificent production and if you have the chance to see, I would certainly urge you to do so. The production had many interesting features and interpretations which seemed to be great entrees into several compliance topics. The play was directed by Sam Gold and it was scored by Phillip Glass but the star power was derived from Jackson as King Lear. It was a fabulous take on the story and one that will resonate directly to our turbulent times. Therefore, inspired by octogenarian Jackson and her performance, I am going to use King Lear as a deep dive into several compliance topics this week. Today, I want to use the nature of the production, to introduce the day’s topic of innovation in compliance.

Gold’s Lear production was both unique and innovative. It was quite a large stage but the lightening was used to great effect. When the director wanted to shift the action, to another group of actors or topic, the lights were simply shut off to the actors not involved. They did not have to exit the stage and then return. This allowed them to remain on stage and the action could move back and forth without disruption.

The second innovation was in the use of music. While I am generally not a fan of music in Shakespeare, unless used in the original show notes, such as bugles blaring; I am not a fan of music in the performances. However there was a classical quartet which played throughout the performance that I felt truly enhanced the entire production. Finally, I normally revolt at any singing in a Shakespearian production. There were a couple of singing scenes which almost worked for me but at least they did not detract from the overall performance.

I thought about this in the context of how to move compliance innovation into the corporate pantheon of greater business process efficiency when I read a recent MIT Sloan Management Review article, entitled “Grow Faster By Changing Your Innovation Narrative”, by George S. Day and Gregory P. Shea. In the article they discussed their findings that organizations that sustain growth “faster than industry rivals articulate a coherent, compelling innovation narrative and rely on four powerful levers to make it a reality.” They posited four key levers for doing so which I believe would work well for a compliance function to sustain innovative growth within an organization and with its customer base, i.e. employees. I have adapted their piece for such an exercise.

The first lever is to invest in compliance talent.

The second lever is encouraging prudent risk taking.

The third lever is to adopt a customer centric process.

The fourth lever is aligning metrics and incentives with innovation activity.

The bottom line is that senior management is well-versed in the need for innovative and effective compliance. By using these four levers, a compliance practitioner can help senior managers to focus the organizations compliance efforts. The authors conclude by stating, “A growth-affirming  innovation narrative and the four levers that make it manifest within a company can help leaders focus and prioritize their innovation efforts. The process of identifying and articulating the narrative is essential to understanding the culture of innovation within a company and envisioning what it can achieve. The levers bring that narrative to life. Without them, organic growth leadership in any industry is a hit-or-miss endeavor.”

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