Today I celebrate a potpourri of history to lead into some leadership lesson for a Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) or aspiring CCO. According to This Day In History, today marks the second formation of the Committees of Vigilance in San Francisco in 1856. The first committee was formed by 200 or so in 1851. The vigilantes consisted largely of the merchant and elite professional classes of the city. They temporarily imprisoned criminals. A handful of criminals who were found guilty of serious crimes, like murder, were hanged. More commonly, though, the vigilantes simply deported criminals back to their homelands.

The second committee had much more political overtones as it focused on a formerly entrenched Protestant class against an immigrant Irish-Catholic group, which had recently taken political power. They tried and hanged the recently elected Irish-Catholic mayor who had been lawfully arrested for murdering a political opponent. This long-ago event of early California history was featured on a TV show I watched growing up, Death Valley Days. I remember the episode around this story as pre-politician Ronald Reagan played the military governor, whose strong guiding hand put down this second Committee of Vigilance, non-violently. Hosting the show was Reagan’s final gig as an actor.

I thought about similar leadership skills when reading a recent article in the New York Times (NYT) Corner Office column where Adam Bryant interviewed Autumn Manning, Chief Executive of YouEarnedIt.com, an employee recognition and reward software company. As a CCO, you must do a “good job communicating the big-picture vision of where you’re going. It’s about setting that North Star for everybody and then breaking it down so they know their specific role in achieving that goal. Otherwise, people start moving in their own directions.” I found this North Star visual representation quite telling and appealing for every CCO to remember where you are heading and how you are going to get there.

Another area the CCO could take heed from Manning is with data and the operationalization of your business. Manning noted, “You also have to make sure you can measure every part of the business, and then have a conversation very publicly across the entire company about those metrics and how we can adjust and get better. That requires a lot of trust and transparency. Just when I feel like we do it well, I realize people still feel siloed.” It is this siloed nature of internal corporate data which stymies many CCOs and compliance functions in getting the big picture to move forward. You should work with your IT or internal audit functions to try and break down these siloes.

Manning also spoke to another key leadership trait not often enough discussed, self-awareness. She stated, “To be an effective leader, you have to have self-awareness. I’ve always known that I have a lot of intensity and a lot of passion. And that can be my greatest strength, but that can also be a big weakness of mine. If applied the wrong way, it breeds the wrong behavior, like people not speaking up because I am so passionate and so intense about what I believe. So I have to go out of my way to communicate my intentions.”

That led to her next point, which is the most consistent theme I have uncovered in all the research I have done on leadership; it is to listen. Manning asks her direct reports lots and lots of questions. She related, “I tend to dig in and pepper people with questions. It may feel like an interrogation. But a lot of it is just so I can understand what’s actually happening — the full scope of the problem and the potential solution.” Yet she uses this technique to listen to the answers, telling folks, “I’m just going to go in my mode now where I’m just going to ask a bunch of questions in the hope that we identify some areas where we can improve.” That helps a lot to make sure people know why I’m doing what I’m doing.”

Manning also is an exponent of continuous improvement of her organization, which is something every compliance practitioner should embrace. The term she used was Make Us Better (M.U.B.) meetings and she asks her employees, “how we can be better, and what could be better.” Another way Manning works to break down siloes is something she called “stay interviews”. Using this technique, she will “randomly pick people every quarter and sit down with them for 15 minutes to ask them how things are going. The point is to have a direct flow of communication across the business so people stay with you instead of hearing from them during an exit interview about why they’re leaving.”

Some of these leadership ideas inform her thoughts in hiring. Manning does not hire for a “functional role” because “Once you start hiring for function only, I think you build a bloated organization with people who don’t have a broader perspective of what you’re trying to accomplish.” She enquires into what drives them, “what a win looks like for them personally, and how they’ve overcome things in their career. I’m really looking for whether they’re in it for the big-picture win as a team or are they in it for themselves. You can get a sense of that just by the questions they ask.”

To more fully operationalize compliance, I advocate using your Human Resources (HR) function. Manning demonstrated another technique which the compliance discipline could incorporate into such a plan. Manning said that she will “ask the candidate to put a plan together for me. That will show you how motivated someone is to really dig in and figure it out, and whether they can actually do the job. The details might not be right, but it will show you how they think and how they’ll solve problems day to day at work.”

As a CCO you should consider making this a part of your employment interview for not only hires in your department but also for senior executive or Chief Executive Officer (CEO) types. This way you can determine their views on compliance, inculcate the importance of compliance into the interview process and if any of the ideas can be used, more fully work to operationalize your compliance function.

Manning provided some interesting insights for any CCO. Use her North Star analogy to set your goals and follow them for compliance. Use your own corporate data to break down the siloes in your organization hindering compliance. Ask questions and listen to your co-workers about compliance issues. Finally, hire very talented folks and use their insights to further operationalize your compliance function.

 

This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of the author. The author is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, legal advice, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such legal advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified legal advisor. The author, his affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person or entity that relies on this publication. The Author gives his permission to link, post, distribute, or reference this article for any lawful purpose, provided attribution is made to the author. The author can be reached at tfox@tfoxlaw.com.

© Thomas R. Fox, 2017

It is not often one can say with certainty that one event changed history but on this date in 1940 there was such an event. It was when Winston Churchill was asked by King George V to form a new government and become the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Churchill replaced Neville Chamberlain, who lost a no-confidence vote in the House of Commons on this date when Hitler invaded Holland, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Churchill formed a united front party, and quickly won the popular support of Britons. On May 13, in his first speech before the House of Commons, Prime Minister Churchill declared that “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat” and offered an outline of his bold plans for British resistance. In the first year of his administration, Britain stood alone against Nazi Germany, but Churchill promised his country and the world that the British people would “never surrender.” They never did.

One of Churchill’s great-grandson’s Jonathan Sandys teaches a leadership class based on principles from his great-grandfather, called Lead Like Churchill. I have had Jonathon on my leadership podcast 12 O’Clock High, a podcast on business leadership and he discusses leadership lessons from Churchill and gives people leadership pointers based on the career of Churchill. I thought about all this when reading a recent article in Harvard Business Review (HBR), entitled “What Sets Successful CEOs Apart by Elena Lytkina Botelho, Kim Rosenkoetter Powell, Stephen Kincaid and Dina Wang. The authors engaged in “a 10-year study, the CEO Genome Project. Its goal is to identify the specific attributes that differentiate high-performing CEOs (whom we define as executives meeting or exceeding expectations in the role, according to interviews with board members and majority investors deeply familiar with the CEOs’ performance).” They reviewed information to distinguish candidates who got hired as CEOs from those who did not and those who excelled in the role from those who underperformed.

There were four specific behaviors that they believe make for high-performing Chief Executive Officers (CEOs). This also means you can model your behavior towards these standards. Finally, if you feel you are deficient in any of these areas, you can take leadership classes to help development some of these traits. I found their research translated well for the attributes needed by a Chief Compliance Officer (CCO).

Deciding with Speed and Conviction

Great CEOs stand out not for being all-knowing and all-seeing but for being decisive. The authors noted, “They make decisions earlier, faster, and with greater conviction. They do so consistently—even amid ambiguity, with incomplete information, and in unfamiliar domains.” Interestingly, overly intellectual CEO types tend to go the opposite direction, being too deliberative and becoming bottlenecks for their organizations. A key consideration for any CCO is that there is never perfection or 100% information. Legally trained in-house lawyer types usually wait for more information before giving an opinion and the type of deliberation well-suited to a law department does not translate well outside a legal function.

Engaging for Impact

The role of any leader should be engagement, engagement and then more engagement. By understanding the needs of your key stakeholders and incorporating that into your solution or initiative you will have your team on board and ready to move forward. The authors quoted Madeline Bell, CEO of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia “With any big decision, I create a stakeholder map of the key people who need to be on board. I identify the detractors and their concerns, and then I think about how I can take the energy that they might put into resistance and channel it into something positive. I make it clear to people that they’re important to the process and they’ll be part of a win.”

In a key insight for any CCO, the authors found that a leader must maintain composure. This is both the “Keep Calm and Do Compliance” insight from Jenny O’Brien and what the authors call “emotional contagion”. Even when receiving bad or difficult news, keep poker faced. Never let them see you see sweat and carry on. This extends out to tacking contentious issues. You must hear everyone out but if a risk is too great or a law will be broken, not everyone gets a vote.

Adapting Proactively

If there is one constant in compliance it is change. Whether that change be in the form of new information from the Department of Justice (DOJ) about Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), a new product or service offering to a foreign government or state-owned enterprise, or simply changing business conditions; a CCO must always be adaptable. The authors found this to be a key indicia of a successful business leader. They cited to Dominic Barton, global managing partner of McKinsey & Company, who said, “It’s dealing with situations that are not in the playbook. As a CEO you are constantly faced with situations where a playbook simply cannot exist. You’d better be ready to adapt.”

Adaptability also means engaging in long-term strategy planning. By having a long-term focus, you can pick up on changes more quickly. You should also use a wide variety of tools to input data. For any CCO, this means that transaction monitoring can be a key tool going forward. Yet even setbacks can have a place in this hierarchy and are integral to growth. That is one of the reasons that I view every FCPA enforcement action as an opportunity for learning, growth and communication and blog about them as such.

Delivering Reliably

Jay Martin, CCO at Baker-Hughes Inc., continually reminds us that compliance is about execution. The same is true for leadership, whether at the CCO or CEO position. The authors found that the mundanity of reliability was a key indicia of success. Stakeholders want a steady hand and predictability. Even if you have stunning results, the authors found that Boards of Directors preferred a steady hand rather than huge results which may not be duplicated. Of course, setting realistic expectations are important but you must consistently follow through on your commitments. The bottom line is that no one in the corporate world wants surprises; certainly not negative surprises but there is even unease if a positive surprise is too great.

The authors conclude by writing, “leadership success is not a function of unalterable traits or unattainable pedigree. Nor is there anything exotic about the key ingredients: decisiveness, the ability to engage stakeholders, adaptability, and reliability. “While there is certainly no “one size fits all” approach, focusing on these essential behaviors will improve both a board’s likelihood of choosing the right CEO – and an individual leader’s chances of succeeding in the role.” The same is true for a CCO and if you would like to hold such a position one day, you should work towards incorporating these traits into your behaviors.

 

This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of the author. The author is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, legal advice, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such legal advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified legal advisor. The author, his affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person or entity that relies on this publication. The Author gives his permission to link, post, distribute, or reference this article for any lawful purpose, provided attribution is made to the author. The author can be reached at tfox@tfoxlaw.com.

© Thomas R. Fox, 2017

Under the Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs, Prong 2, it states:

  1. Senior and Middle Management

Conduct at the Top – How have senior leaders, through their words and actions, encouraged or discouraged the type of misconduct in question? What concrete actions have they taken to demonstrate leadership in the company’s compliance and remediation efforts? How does the company monitor its senior leadership’s behavior? How has senior leadership modelled proper behavior to subordinates?

This requirement is more than simply the ubiquitous ‘tone-at-the-top’ as here the Justice Department wants to see a company’s senior leadership actually doing compliance. How can senior management operationalize compliance going forward? One of the best places to start is the article from the Harvard Business Review by Professor Lynn Paine entitled, “Managing for Organizational Integrity”. Larry Thompson, former PepsiCo Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs, General Counsel and Secretary, discussed the work of Professor Paine in citing five factors, which he believed were critical in establishing an effective integrity program and to set the right “Tone at the Top”.

  1. The guiding values of a company must make sense and be clearly communicated.
  2. The company’s leader must be personally committed and willing to take action on the values.
  3. A company’s systems and structures must support its guiding principles.
  4. A company’s values must be integrated into normal channels of management decision-making and reflected in the company’s critical decisions.
  5. Managers must be empowered to make ethically sound decisions on a day-to-day basis.

David Lawler, in his book, Frequently Asked Questions in Anti-Bribery and Corruption  boiled it down as follows “Whatever the size, structure or market of a commercial organization, top-level management’s commitment to bribery prevention is likely to include communication of the organization’s anti-bribery stance and appropriate degree of involvement in developing bribery prevention procedures.” Lawler went on to provide a short list of points that he suggests senior management engage in to communicate the type of tone to follow an anti-corruption regime.” I had a CEO of a client, who after I described his role in operationalizing his company’s compliance program observed the following, “You want me to be the ambassador for compliance.” I immediately averred in the affirmative. The following is a list of things that a CEO can do as an ‘Ambassador of Compliance’

  • Reject a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ mentality;
  • Not just ‘talk-the-talk’ but ‘walk-the-walk’ of compliance;
  • Oversee creation of a written statement of a zero tolerance towards bribery and corruption;
  • Appoint and fully resource, with money and headcount, a Chief Compliance Officer;
  • Oversee the development of a Code of Conduct and written compliance program implementing it;
  • Ensure there are compliance metrics on all key business reports;
  • Provide leadership to middle managers to facilitate filtering of the zero tolerance message down throughout the organization;
  • Not only have a whistleblowing, reporting or speak up channel but celebrate it;
  • Keep talking about doing the right thing;
  • Make sure that you are seen providing your Chief Compliance Officer with access to yourself and the Board of Directors.

Coming at it from a different perspective, author Martin Biegelman provides some concrete examples in his book entitled, “Building a World Class Compliance Program – Best Practices and Strategies for Success”. Biegelman begins the chapter discussed in this posting with the statement “The road to compliance starts at the top.” There is probably no dispute that a company takes on the tone of its top management. In this chapter Biegelman cites to a list used by Joe Murphy of actions that a CEO can demonstrate to set the requisite tone from the Captain’s Chair of any business. The list is as follows:

  1. Keep a copy of the Constitution on your Desk. Have a dog-eared copy of your company’s Code of Conduct on your desktop and be seen using it.
  2. Clout. Make sure your compliance department has authority, influence and budget within the company. Have your Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) report directly to the Board of Directors.
  3. Make them Accountable. At Senior Executive meetings, have each participant report on what they have done to further the compliance function in their business unit.
  4. Sticks and Carrots. Have both sanctions for violation of company compliance and ethics policies and incentives for doing business in a compliant manner.
  5. Don’t do as I say, Do as I do. Turn down an expensive dinner or trip offered by a vendor. Pass on a gift that you may have received. Turn down a transaction based upon ethical considerations.
  6. Be a Student. Be seen at intra-company compliance training. Take a one or two day course or attend a compliance conference outside your organization.
  7. Award Compliance. You should recognize outstanding compliance efforts with companywide announcements and awards.
  8. The Board. Recruit a nationally known compliance expert to sit on your company’s Board and chair the audit or compliance committee.
  9. Independent Review. Obtain an independent, outside review of your company’s compliance program and report the results to the Board’s Audit Committee.
  10. Mandate that all vendors in your Supply Chain embrace compliance and ethics as a business model. If not, pass on doing business with them.
  11. Talk to others in your industry and your peers on how to improve your company’s compliance efforts.

Many companies struggle with some type of metric which can be used for upper management regarding compliance and communication of a company’s compliance values. One technique might be to require the CEO to post companywide emails or other communications once a quarter on some compliance related topic. The CEO’s direct reports would then also be required to email their senior management staff a minimum of once per quarter on a compliance topic. One can cascade this down the company as far as is practicable. Reminders can be set for each communication so that all personnel know when it is time to send out the message. If these communications are timely made, this metric has been met.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Senior management must actually do compliance; walk-the-walk, not simply talk-the-talk.
  2. Use your CEO to talk about current events and how those ethical failures are lessons to be learned for your organization.
  3. CEO as Compliance Ambassador.

 

This month’s podcast series is sponsored by Oversight Systems, Inc. Oversight’s automated transaction monitoring solution, Insights On Demand for FCPA, operationalizes your compliance program. For more information, go to OversightSystems.com.

It is time to give a shout out to one of Houston’s hometown hero’s, the Houston Rockets. Until the Houston Dynamos came along, they were the only professional sports franchise to bring a championship to Houston. They brought two actually, winning the National Basketball League (NBA) crown in 1994 and 1995. Since that time it is has been a dry hole, with the Rockets only once advancing to the Western Conference finals.

However, this year the Rockets have the best record in the NBA since December 1, with a sterling 17-2. This includes road wins over the Spurs, Thunder and Warriors. Not too bad a trifecta. They are led again by a much rejuvenated James Hardin (Fear the Beard) as point guard who is in the conversation for league Most Valuable Player (MVP). This all began with the hiring of offensive guru Mike D’Antoni as coach. While I, like many others, was skeptical, it has turned out so far as an inspired choice by General Manager (GM) Daryl Morey. Morey was one of the first NBA GM’s who focused on saber metrics and is fearless in trying out new concepts, new ideas, new players or coaches who may not seem to fit the traditional NBA profile. Morey keeps the big picture goal of bringing a title back to ‘Clutch City’ yet again.

I thought about Morey, the Rockets and a best practices compliance program when I read a recent article in the New York Times (NYT) Corner Office column by Adam Bryant, where he profiled Mike Tuchen, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the software vendor Talend, in a piece entitled “Watch the Road, Not the Wipers. I found the article had some very interesting implications for any Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) or compliance practitioner.

An early lesson for Tuchen was to focus on what he could control, not what he could not. He learned this lesson in college crew, he was undersized both in weight and height from his teammates. He said, “I had to figure out how I could make myself as efficient as possible, pound-for-pound. I had to make sure that every ounce I had was going to be as effective as I could be. So I asked, what could I do to make my diet as effective as possible? What could I do from a training perspective to work harder than the other guys?… That approach, focused on results with incredibly detailed measurement and course correction when needed, is so transferable to a work environment.”

As a CCO you are required to use the tools at hand. If you do not have enough head count or budget (and who does) use what you can more effectively. You may even be able to outsource more mundane compliance tasks to vendors which supply such services at a cost much reduced from your employee cost. As usual, you are only limited by your imagination.

Another key lesson Tuchen learned from crew was to stay focused and stay calm. He said that “When you’re on the water, you’ve got waves, wind and whatever else is going on. You can choose to either focus on that and use it as an excuse later on or ignore it.” His rowing coach phrased it another way, “When you’re driving and rain is pouring down, with the windshield wipers going, you can either watch the windshield wiper or you watch the road. Which is going to be more successful? That was just a fabulous reminder about staying focused and calm.”

Tuchen had an approach to leadership which resonated with me and I think every CCO should consider. He believes there are three basic components to leadership. First “is getting the right team together and having it really be a team, who have shared cultural values and who work together and support each other. It’s not just about having the right people.” For any CCO, this is critical with the disparate elements you need to have in every effective compliance program. These elements can be from Human Resources (HR) to IT to Internal Audit, to Accounting and Finance, to Internal Controls, to Legal and beyond.

The second is to “have a strategy of how you’re going to win. This is the chess match part of being a” business leader. Every CCO should have a one, three and five-year strategic plan going forward, all based upon ongoing risk assessments. As your company matures, grows and expands, your compliance program should do so as well. It also leads to the documentation being ready if or when the regulators coming knocking and a road map in annual budgetary requests.

Finally, is execution. As Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) CCO Jay Martin says, execution is not only where the rubber meets the road in compliance but it is what distinguishes an effective compliance program from a paper program. Tuchen said it’s “about having a clear set of goals, with everyone aligned around them. And we have a scorecard that we share with the board and the whole company each quarter, and it shows red, green and yellow for our progress on each of the goals.” Execution can tie into your strategic plan but you must execute on that plan for your compliance program to be effective.

As a CCO you will probably be asked to assist in hiring employees for your compliance department or interviewing potential senior management candidates from the compliance perspective. In this regard I thought Tuchen’s thoughts on hiring were pertinent. When he interviews he noted, “The first questions are always going to be about management and leadership style. And I’ll ask a number of open-ended questions about what’s important to get right as a leader. Some people will talk about the people on the team and the best way to motivate them. The answers that kind of scare me are from candidates who talk about people as if they’re something on a spreadsheet. Leadership and management are all about people.” Clearly for Tuchen, leadership is about people and this should be so for any CCO who is interviewing as well.

Next Tuchen said he wants “to make sure that you’re resilient, because things don’t always go the way you want them to. So I’ll ask questions like, what’s the hardest problem you’ve ever solved? Why was it hard? What did you do uniquely well that someone else wouldn’t have been able to do, and why?” This is clearly appropriate for any CCO to inquire into for a new hire.

I found Tuchen’s thoughts on leadership very useful for any CCO to consider and remember to always keep your eyes on the road not the wipers.

 

This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of the author. The author is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, legal advice, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such legal advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified legal advisor. The author, his affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person or entity that relies on this publication. The Author gives his permission to link, post, distribute, or reference this article for any lawful purpose, provided attribution is made to the author. The author can be reached at tfox@tfoxlaw.com.

© Thomas R. Fox, 2017

Many compliance professionals in the corporate world work long and hard to rise up to the senior management level in their organizations. It takes subject matter expertise, hard work and sometime propitious good fortune to get to the C-Suite level in a large company. However, many of the skills which work to get you there do not always serve you in a senior management roll. I recently read a couple of articles which took a look at this subject and offered some remedies.

One thing many compliance practitioners, particularly those who grew up professionally, have in common is self-reliance. Not every lawyer and compliance practitioner is a Type A driven personality but many of us are. In many ways it is what makes us a success. However, in the corporate world, just like any other, there are limits to self-reliance. I was reminded of this in a New York Times (NYT) Corner Office column by Adam Bryant where he interviewed Lori Dickerson Fouché, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Prudential Group Insurance.

Not simply surviving but also performing under pressure is the mark of a successful Chief Compliance Officer (CCO). In a Financial Times (FT) article, entitled “A CEO’s primer on how to manage under pressure”, Andrew Hill wrote about a CEO but I found many of his concepts applicable to any senior corporate leader, specifically including a CCO.

Driven is one of the words which spring to mind when discussing Fouché. As she noted a favorite expression she heard growing up was that “To whom much is given, much is required.” This was often paired with “Mediocrity is not a good place to be.” She went to add that around the dinner table, her parents would tell her that she needed to work harder than most other people.

Fortunately for Fouché, one of her early lessons in the corporate world was to ask for help. She said it “stemmed from the fact that I had been used to thinking, “I can get through the brick wall. I can make this happen.” I was very self-reliant, and I figured that if I could do it, so could the team. So I overworked some teams early on, and that led to an early lesson around asking for help. It’s O.K. not to have all the answers and not to be able to do everything and to put your hand up and say, “I need help.” I was so surprised by how people really wanted to help. They loved being invited into the process.”

From these experience she also learned to prioritize. She noted, “You simply can’t do everything. There were times I would walk into a new job, and my eyes would be huge and I would feel like a kid in a candy shop. I’d think, “Let’s just get after it,” instead of, “O.K., let’s pause. What’s the most important thing to really get after?” Being able to say “No” or “Not now” were important lessons for me.”

Another interesting lesson (and one far different than the corporate world I grew up in) was transparency. Fouché related “to share my thoughts so that other people could follow them. I learned an important lesson from a colleague when I was C.E.O. at another company, who said: “Lori, this is a little bit like being on the train and you’re in the front of the train and we’re in the dark. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel. But there are people who are toiling in the back, and they’re throwing coal in the engine, and they’re working the cars, and that’s all they know. You should be at the front of the train, but your job is to shorten the distance between you and the back of the train so that we can all see what you see at the front.””

These points tie most interestingly into Hill’s piece. He said the ability to handle pressure is a key component for a C-Suiter. He wrote, “One way CEOs can offset potentially overwhelming pressure is by finding small ways to exercise control. When the job’s demands threaten to swamp her, Ms Sapone tries to “deal with whatever it is point by point, and look for the controllable things”.”

In other words, prioritize and start the slogging work of going through the issues in front of you. It not only gives you some semblance of control but also helps you to focus on doing the next right thing. As a business leader, others in your team and cascading down will take their clues from you and begin to operate in the same analytical manner. This also ties into one of Fouché’s key points about her leadership style.

Not only does she strive for personal transparency, she expects it from others. She said, “I expect my leaders to listen. I expect them to ask questions. I expect them to understand what’s going on. I am somewhat infamous for saying, “So how’s it going?” And they’ll say, “Great.” Then I’ll say, “How do you know?” It’s one thing when people start telling you anecdotes and it’s another thing when they can say, “Well, because we track this and we measure that.” We make sure we’re analytical in our approaches.”

If you couple this with two characteristics Fouché looks for when hiring: resilience and perseverance; it gives you a hint on some key characteristics. This is because she believes that when “working in big companies, and you have to find a way to navigate and negotiate to an end result. It could be a winding path. So I make sure that people feel like they know how to do that, and do it in a way that is respectful of the system.”

Aesop noted many eons ago that the race is not always won by the fastest but often the strongest and the steadiest. Many of the characteristics which allow you to rise within a corporation may need to ameliorated somewhat at the C-Suite.  Fouché’s lessons and Hill’s piece give you some  good starting points.

 

This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of the author. The author is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, legal advice, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such legal advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified legal advisor. The author, his affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person or entity that relies on this publication. The Author gives his permission to link, post, distribute, or reference this article for any lawful purpose, provided attribution is made to the author. The author can be reached at tfox@tfoxlaw.com.

© Thomas R. Fox, 2017