One of the ways that CCOs and compliance practitioners can better use 360-degrees of communication is through Twitter. In “How Twitter Users Can Generate Better Ideas”, authors Salvatore Parise, Eoin Whelan and Steve Todd found “employees with a diverse Twitter network – one that exposes them to people and ideas they don’t already know – tend to generate better ideas.” Their research led them to three interesting findings: (1) Employees who used Twitter had better ideas than those who did not do so; (2) There was a link between the amount of diversity in employees’ twitter networks and the quality of their ideas; and (3) Twitter users who combined idea scouting and idea connecting were the most innovative.

I do not think the first point is too controversial or even insightful as it simply confirms that persons who tend have greater curiosity tend to be more innovative. The logic is fairly-straightforward, good ideas emerge when new information received is shared with what a person already knows. In today’s digitally connected world, the amount of information in almost any area is significant. Yet by using Twitter, “the potential for accessing a divergent set of ideas is greater.”

The key concept for the compliance profession are the roles of Idea Scout and Idea Connector. An idea scout isan employee who looks outside the organization to bring in new ideas. An idea connector, is someone who can assimilate the external ideas and find opportunities within the organization to implement these new concepts.” It is the ability to identify, assimilate and exploit new compliance ideas, which makes this concept so powerful. However to improve your compliance innovation, “you need to maintain a diverse network while also developing your assimilation and exploitation skills.”

For the compliance practitioner, Twitter is a gateway to solution and a way to obtain different perspectives and to challenge the status quo in one’s thinking. The key is not your number of followers on Twitter but rather the diversity within your Twitter network, as “Diversity of employee’s Twitter network is conductive to innovation.” An Idea Scout will “identify external ideas from experts and resources on Twitter.” The compliance practitioner can take advantage of experts within the anti-corruption compliance field, but there is an equally rich source of innovation from those outside this arena.

Even with modern social media tools, the first key to good leadership is to listen. Listening can be enhanced, through the “breadcrumb” approach of finding innovation leaders and thought-provokers. This entails listening to colleagues and industry leaders who are Twitter “including what they are tweeting about, who they are following and replying to on the platform, who is being retweeted often”.

Equally important to this Idea Scout is the Idea Connector, who is putting the disparate strands from tweets together. For the compliance function, this will be someone who identifies compliance best practices or other information from Twitter ideas, can then put them together and direct the information to the relevant company stakeholders. Finally, such a person can “Curate Twitter ideas and matches them with company resources needed to implement them.”

There are a variety of ways an Idea Connector can use Twitter. One is to try to sift through your Twitter feed and look for trends and relationships between topics. You bring value when you stamp your own analysis and interpretation on it. Another method is to focus on analytics and one user “filtered specific subsets of the topic for different stakeholders” at his company. Another method was to create “social dashboards or company blogs based on the insight” received thought Twitter. Interesting, one of the key requirements for successfully mining Twitter was in finding ways to share its content “since many employees, especially baby-boomers don’t use the platform themselves.” Conversely by mining information from Twitter and presenting it, this can allow these ‘technologically challenged’ older employees to ascertain how they can target millennial’s.

But as much as these concepts can move a CCO or compliance practitioner to innovation in a compliance program, it can also foster additional communication through the following of your own employees. It is well known that Twitter can facilitate greater communication to and between the compliance function and its customer base, aka the company employees. The use of Twitter to enable this same type of innovation because it “is different than email and other forms of information sources in that it enables continuous engagement”.

Twitter was created to allow people to connect with one and other and communicate about their activities. However the marketing potential was immediately seen and used by many companies. Now a deeper understanding of its use and benefits has developed. For the compliance practitioner one thing you want to consider is to align your Twitter and great social media strategy with your compliance strategy; match your Twitter strategy to your compliance strategy.

Twitter can be powerful tool for the compliance practitioner. It is one of the only tools that can work both inbound for you to obtain information and insight and in an outbound manner as well; where you are able to communicate with your compliance customer base, your employees. You should work to incorporate one or more of the techniques to help you burn compliance into the DNA fabric of your organization.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Twitter can be powerful tool for the compliance practitioner.
  2. Data mine twitter for not only best practices but see what the regulators may be saying.
  3. Curiosity may have killed the cat but it makes for a far better and more effective compliance practitioner.

 

This month’s podcast series is sponsored by Dun & Bradstreet.  Dun & Bradstreet’s compliance solutions provide comprehensive due diligence reporting and analysis to reduce your risk of working with fraudulent companies by accessing a company’s beneficial ownership, reputation risk and more.  For more information, go to dnb.com/compliance.

What if you could multiple the impact and effectiveness of your compliance program throughout your company? That would be a great boon to any compliance practitioner and compliance program. It is also something that is very possible by considering a 360-degree view of communications in compliance using multipliers.

Liz Wiseman is the co-author with Greg McKeown of Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, which is a book about the various types of leaders. They focus two different types of leaders, Diminishers and Multipliers. Multipliers are leaders who encourage growth and creativity from their workers, while Diminishers are those who hinder and otherwise keep their employees’ productivity at a minimum.

These techniques not only beneficial for every Chief Compliance Officer to use as a business leader within your organization, but also for every compliance practitioner to more fully operationalize corporate compliance programs. The also help you to understand more fully the concept of 360-degrees of communication because in every interaction you can multiply the power of your communication by using a variety of simple and even straight-forward tools and techniques.

Multipliers increase, often exponentially, the intelligence of the people around them through communication. They lead organizations or groups that can understand and solve hard problems rapidly, achieve their goals, and adapt and increase their capacity over time. On the other hand, diminishers literally drain the intelligence, energy and capability from the employees or team members around them. They lead groups that operate in silos, find it hard to get things done, seem unable to do what’s needed to reach their goals.

Multipliers break down into five disciplines in which they differentiate themselves from diminishers. The first is the Talent Magnet, who attracts and optimizes talent; the second is the Liberator, who creates intensity that requires an employee’s best thinking; next is the Challenger who extends challenges by having others do the hard lifting so that they can stretch themselves; next is the Debate Maker who facilitates a debate between his or her team which leads to a decision improving a process or issue; and finally is the Investor, who instills ownership and accountability with his/her employee base. Interestingly Wiseman believes that multipliers increase efficiency and productivity by two times.

Diminishers also break down into five different prototypes. They are the Empire Builder, who is only interested in collecting very talented people around themselves so that they look good; next is the Tyrant, whose name is almost self-disclosing but ruins all those around them with their insistent criticisms; next is the Know-it-all who give directives simply to showcase how much they know limiting what their teams can achieve to what they themselves know how to do. This means the team must try to deduce, literally in the dark, the soundness of the decision instead of executing it; and finally, there is Micromanager, who generally believes they are only person who can figure something out and approach execution by maintaining ownership, jumping in and out of a project and reclaiming responsibility for problems which they have delegated. Diminishers usually reduce efficiencies by up to 50%.

Wiseman presents several ways that a leader could use multiplier effects and I found many of them would work particularly well for the compliance practitioner who is working to operationalize a best practices compliance program. This is particularly true because it is through persuasion that compliance works best by getting other corporate disciplines to embrace compliance.

Some of the specific multiplier techniques are to identify not only what the skills are for those on your team, but also what comes easily and natural to them. By doing so you can more effectively utilize their talents in implementing a compliance regime. Interestingly you can get employees to stretch through a technique called ‘supersizing’ where you give someone a task that may be “one size too big” for them, but allows them to grow into it. This is certainly applicable when working to operationalize compliance in business units outside the United States which may only have been dictated to previously but where not involving in doing compliance.

As the CCO or compliance leader working to more fully operationalize your compliance program, you should work to limit your direct comments to a minimum going forward. This will allow the non-compliance team members to not only stretch themselves but also allows for more impactful intervention when necessary but the simple fact is you are intervening less. Louis Sapirman, the CCO at Dun & Bradstreet said that while he holds the office, he is not the face of compliance at the company. It is him employee base. He has literally multiplied the influence of the compliance function both inside and outside the company in this manner.

Mistakes are going to happen in any implementation. The same is true when you are operationalizing your compliance program. To overcome this there are a couple of strategies. The first is to talk up your mistakes within the team for debriefing and analysis. The second is to actually make room for mistakes (think of a sandbox) where your team can experiment, take some risks and recover from the mistakes.

I found her next point fascinating, which was to lead by asking questions. Every question is answered by another question. Her technique of leading with questions works with all five categories of multipliers. The reason it is so successful is that people are smart, the not only want to get things right but they want to build and eventually they will figure out how to do it. It is not simply a case of getting out of their way. It is about guiding them with your compliance expertise to come up with not only the right answer but a solution which will work.

Now imagine applying this leadership technique as you are trying to more fully operationalize your compliance program. If you take this approach of leading by asking questions, you not only guidance the functional unit but you get greater buy-in to the entire concept and process as it becomes their process. The non-compliance team may design it and have ownership over it.

Wiseman concluded by challenging each of us to multiply our influence to make those with work with and even work for better. You can use these skills to more fully operationalize your compliance program. If you do so, you will not only fulfill the requirements of the Department of Justice, laid out in the Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs, you will bake compliance into the DNA of your company by making it a part of the way you conduct your business.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Multipliers are leaders who encourage growth and creativity from their workers.
  2. Diminishers are those who hinder and otherwise keep their employees’ productivity at a minimum.
  3. Multiply the influence of the compliance function both inside and outside the company in this manner.

 

This month’s podcast series is sponsored by Dun & Bradstreet.  Dun & Bradstreet’s compliance solutions provide comprehensive due diligence reporting and analysis to reduce your risk of working with fraudulent companies by accessing a company’s beneficial ownership, reputation risk and more.  For more information, go to dnb.com/compliance.

One thing many compliance practitioners have in common is self-reliance. Many compliance professionals in the corporate world work long and hard to rise 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 the context of a 360-degree view of communication at the senior management level.

Not every lawyer and compliance practitioner is a Type A driven personality but many 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. Put another way, if you do not have a culture where everybody appreciates the importance of their role in showing the type of behavior that is expected within your organization; then you are probably not doing a very good job of driving culture.  Adam Bryant explored this theme in a New York Times (NYT) Corner Office column where he interviewed Lori Dickerson Fouché, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Prudential Group Insurance.

A key lesson is to ask for help. Fouché 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.” Building on the Wiseman concept of multipliers, you see how you can expand the influence only yourself and your corporate compliance function.

From these experience, Fouché 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 concerns 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.””

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. Make sure that people feel like they know how to do that, and do it in a way that is respectful of the system.” You will have more success in communications and in use of social media if you first start with a relationship, particularly in getting to know the leaders in a given geographic market within your organization.

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 be ameliorated somewhat at the C-Suite.  Fouché’s lessons around a 360-degree approach to both leadership and communications give you some good starting points.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Learn to ask for help.
  2. As a CCO share your thoughts so others can follow them.
  3. Leadership often involves taking employees on a winding path.

 

This month’s podcast series is sponsored by Dun & Bradstreet.  Dun & Bradstreet’s compliance solutions provide comprehensive due diligence reporting and analysis to reduce your risk of working with fraudulent companies by accessing a company’s beneficial ownership, reputation risk and more.  For more information, go to dnb.com/compliance.

Think about the task facing new Uber Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dara Khosrowshahi. He is working to overhaul a toxic corporate culture, while dealing with regulators literally across the globe. His public statement seems to indicate he has the right vision for changing the company’s culture but the work has only begun. I thought about his struggle in the context a Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) who might be trying to make a slightly less dramatic cultural change in their organization when I read “What CEOs Get Wrong About Vision and How to Get it Rightby Dan Ciampa in the Fall 2017 Issue of the MIT Sloan Management Review.

Ciampa’s primary thesis is that “Many executives don’t understand how to craft a compelling vision for change that will gain widespread commitment within their organizations. Leaders should start by asking themselves: What will people see, hear, and feel once the changes have been achieved?” The reason is that success in such an endeavor requires more than simply the right set of capital and technology, it also requires a company to “adopt new behaviors and ways of thinking.” You need to paint a mental picture of what success in this new vision will look like going forward.

One of the key starting points is that many leaders confuse vision with a corporate mission. If your corporate vision merely repeats what is already in the strategy, it will do nothing “to emotionally engage the people who are being asked to implement it.” Your visions should begin with “a vivid, credible image of an ideal future state. The clearer a CEO is about what people should do differently to achieve new, challenging objectives, the greater his or her chances of achieving the changes necessary for success. New behavior doesn’t come from missions, however aspirational, but from deep, emotional commitment to doing things differently.”

As a CCO, there are generally two accepted techniques for persuading employees to do business ethically and in compliance with anti-corruption laws such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The first is to explain the situation logically and move forward on that path. The second is to explain the “burning platform” of what will happen to the company without changing. The former expects all employees to respond like lawyers and the latter only works as long as the risk is imminent. Neither approach engages employees, further the “most influential managers must agree on a shared, common picture of behaviors, systems, and processes needed to make the new strategy successful — in other words, a picture of the way the organization will operate when at its best.” The question is how to do so and the author posits five principles to clarifying your vision. 

Find your own unique way

What is your vision, tailored to your company, reflecting your own words, deeds and personality? There is a reason any compliance program begins with a risk assessment; it is because you must assess your organization’s risk and tailor a compliance program to manage those risks. The same is true when implementing a new way of doing business at an organization. Ciampa cited to one journalist who wrote his vision was how he communicated best. Another CEO drew out a skit and hired actors to portray the roles. Both worked as they were authentic to the leaders. He ended with the admonition, “For this reason, when the task of communicating a vision is delegated to a marketing department or PR organization, the only outcomes are a sterile statement and lost credibility for the leader.”

Appeal to emotions often and vividly

Your vision must be not only clear but appeal to employees’ emotions with something more than simply an appeal to the bottom line. That can motivate but it cannot emotionally do so to the extent you need to make a fundamental change. Ciampa noted “The best vision is vivid enough that people understand how the organization would operate and how problems that currently frustrate them would be solved. As the vision is put forward often and in various forums, a picture takes shape in the minds of followers of a place in which they can envision themselves being more satisfied. The result is that they personalize the vision, tailor it to their own needs, and, as they experiment with new behavior, become more comfortable with it.” 

Describe changes that can be imagined

Here Ciampa cautions that a leader must walk a fine line because “While the vision must honestly communicate a different reality, its descriptions should not be so radically different from employees’ current concept of the organization that they are not able to imagine what the organization will look and feel like once the vision is achieved.” It is often hard to get employees to give up old ways and you may have to make your vision into incremental steps.

Describe valued behavior, not values

If the change in values seems too daunting, considering a vision which changes valued behavior, as such a change can lead to the desired results. You may have some current practices which meet this goal so you can point to them going forward. This can lead to other articulated visions for employees which they can not only grasp but embrace. Your vision should “describe the behavior that in the optimal culture will be valued because it will lead to the right results.”

Be firm and flexible

While the leader’s vision should be followed, if he or she is not clear on certain aspects, senior management can provide input if requested. The “best vision will come from a disciplined, iterative approach that enables the leader to control how the picture is crafted, while also ensuring that others who need to be aligned feel some ownership.” Yet as discussions progress, every “refined version of the vision will sit atop the one that precedes it, like tiles on a well-built roof that overlap for strength.” This leads to a common vision and one the rest of the organization will see as describing the same sort of future state. This in turn will make it more straight-forward to get the critical mass of employees to commit to the hard work of change.

Following these steps as a leader, whether a CEO or CCO, you can not only put forward your vision but garner greater acceptance and buy-in from the troops. By doing so, all are invested in achieving the goal going forward and consider what they must do differently.

 

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

The life of a Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) can be intense and the one of the most powerful tools you have is persuasion. Jenny O’Brien, CCO at United Health Care, has talked about the techniques that a CCO can use to influence decision making in a company to do business in ethically and in compliance. She has called these techniques of persuasion “Seven Steps of Influence” and advocates a CCO employ them help influence decision-making within an organization.

  1. Collaboration. As a CCO you need to know your company’s business. If you are new to an organization you must take time to learn the business. You should sit in on sales meetings and, when appropriate, you should go out on sales call. Channeling your inner Atticus Finch, you must walk in the shoes of the business leaders you are assisting. By doing so, you will not only understand the products and services that your company offers but also the challenges that your business development team faces out in the world.
  2. You must work constantly at active listening, which is listening, thinking and then speaking, and not just jump into the middle of a conversation, talk to people in a manner that will address their concerns. When you do speak, be prepared to make the case for the compliance proposition that you are trying to get across. As a CCO, strive to be relevant in every interaction you have with your peers in senior management. This sometimes it means speaking up at meetings or other forums but sometimes it means listening. Develop a rapport with your business team and this rapport can lead to trust building.
  3. Relationships. This is relationships between the compliance function and other corporate functions in an organization, through a CCO or compliance practitioner can bring influence to bear. It all begins with building trust with others within your organization. Invest time to find others in your organization with which you want to work and with those with whom you desire to build relationships. The key relationships that a CCO or compliance practitioner can develop are with the audit function, the legal department, Human Resources, IT and corporate communications.
  4. Humility. Humility is important because it empowers. It can empower others to expand the circle of influence and get others in a corporation to influence an ever-expanding circle on behalf of compliance. The CCO does not need center stage. Echoing the DOJ Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs requirement that compliance should be operationalized, business units should solve compliance issues, as compliance is just another business process. Through such influence you can get business unit resources to solve a compliance problem, you will hold down the costs of the compliance function. It is not about being right but about moving the compliance ball forward in the right direction.
  5. Negotiation. A compliance practitioner you need to learn the art of compromise. Negotiation is not about the dichotomy of winning and losing an argument or debate. A CCO should strive to redefine what a win might look like or what a win might consist of for a business unit employee. When faced with such a confrontation, try to determine what both sides wanted then give them something else in addition to what they thought they wanted. A CCO can be considered a mediator not just simply an enforcer or Dr. No from the Land of No.
  6. Triple ‘C’. Keep calm, cool and collected because all company employees, up and down the chain, are watching the CCO. For this reason, a compliance practitioner should channel their inner Harry Dean Stanton and have a laconic face, at all times. The Triple C’s are important because organizations look to the CCO to solve complex issues with simple solutions. When faced with a compliance issue or an obstacle you should endeavor to keep everything on an even keel and never let them see you sweat.
  7. Credibility. The final of the seven pillars was that the CCO role needs to be adequately scoped and that the accountabilities need to be clearly defined. Put another way, what is your job scope as the CCO and what is the function of the compliance department? What is your accountability to decide the resolution to an issue? As a CCO, you must demonstrate your value as a non-revenue function. This may require you to get out of your office and put on a PR campaign for compliance. A CCO needs to guard their independence in job function and reporting. You must make clear that you will have independent reporting up to the Board or Audit Committee of the Board.

Influencing and using persuasion is not a one-time activity. It is ongoing. If you consider it within the context of the 360-degree approach to communication, it means calibrating every which manner of influence and with all your stakeholders, both inside and outside your organization. Persuasion touches all forms of communications whether those are formal communications, informal communications, or simply accidental communications. It includes using all the right methods of communications to maximize the influence you can bring to bear.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Persuasion is probably the key tool for any CCO.
  2. Persuasion touches all forms of communications.
  3. Influencing, using persuasion is not a one-time activity; t is ongoing as in literally all the time.

 

This month’s podcast series is sponsored by Dun & Bradstreet.  Dun & Bradstreet’s compliance solutions provide comprehensive due diligence reporting and analysis to reduce your risk of working with fraudulent companies by accessing a company’s beneficial ownership, reputation risk and more.  For more information, go to dnb.com/compliance.