This week, I am exploring some of the compliance service offerings I make available to the compliance community through my consulting company, Advanced Compliance Solutions. Today, I explore the Compliance Retreat.

Using my corporate counsel days as a guide, I wondered how I could help corporate compliance departments better succeed in compliance? Inspired by the powerful tool of the strategic retreat I was a part of when I was a Division Counsel, I formed theCompliance Retreatfor corporate compliance departments, Chief Compliance Officers (CCOs) and compliance practitioners. Why a strategic retreat? It is unlikely you can explore the wide range of issues that you might need to consider by simply performing a risk assessment and going forward. While a risk assessment is a key tool, it is only one tool. The Compliance Retreatwill allow you to work through a wide range of compliance issues specific to your company, your risk profile, your industry and your culture. Taking time to discuss compliance issues large and small in one day theCompliance Retreatwill allow you to think differently about your compliance program, all facilitated by one of the top Nuts and Boltscompliance practitioners around.

The role of facilitator is crucial for several reasons. First and foremost, you should have a neutral party, one with no stake in the outcome. This means that you should not bring in your regular counsel or compliance advisors because they will have a vested interest in projects moving forward. Further, the facilitator needs to be well-versed in not only the anti-corruption compliance field but also someone who has seen a wide variety of best practicesin compliance in multiple business and industries. In the compliance field many practitioners want to know what other companies are doing and how they are facing unique challenges in many areas. Only an expert in the compliance arena can bring all of these skills to bear.

It starts with a Facilitator prepared to discuss your compliance program; the current structure, risk assessments, audits and outstanding issues at this time. A Facilitator could then help lead a discussion based on wide compliance discipline knowledge for steps to consider in building your program. From there, you can move towards building out and enhancing your own compliance program. It would end with actions steps which can be measured moving forward.

The Compliance Retreatis more than simply getting away for one day to discuss the specifics of your compliance program. Sarah Kessler, writing in an Inc.com article, entitled “How to Plan a Company Retreat”, listed some of the key principles of a strategic retreat which I have adapted for the Compliance Retreat. They include:

  • Collaborate. Make certain that all participants have the ability to collaborate
  • Make discussion introvert-friendly. Ask the participants to write down answers to questions instead of blurting them out, and ask every person in the room to give their opinion in an organized manner
  • Encourage people to express themselves. It is important that all opinions are heard and make certain that minority opinions have a way to be heard
  • Combine team building with work. Compliance is always about teamwork so your compliance team should decide their next steps in the future, versus just experiencing a task together and deciding that the group can simply work well together
  • Stay on topic. It is important to stay focused on compliance issues
  • Diverge, converge. You should break up your group for more focused discussions then bring them back to the larger group for discussion
  • Document your next steps. Assign a champion for each step that the compliance team has agreed on, making those steps as specific as possible. You should document who does what, when they will accomplish the task and how, at the end of the day, you will measure it

Through my service offering of the Compliance Master Class Training I bring the most current best practices, by the guy who wrote the book on compliance program focusingon the nuts and bolts of compliance to a wide variety of compliance practitioners across the US. With the Compliance RetreatI will be able to offer the best practicesto any compliance department or similar corporate function who wants to have a facilitated, focused retreat on its compliance program. Imagine you could focus for one day on your compliance program and be able to pick the brain of the one of the tops Nuts and Boltscompliance practitioners around. Now you have the chance. What will it cost to have such a service? You will have to contact me for that information but it will be a fixed fee service so you know your cost going in with no surprises with an hourly rate or multiple lawyers and support personnel showing up on the billing memo.

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