To some extent, compliance programs are about the opposite of trust. A compliance professional wants to check on the status of a person’s actions to make sure rules are not being broken. Theoretically, you wouldn’t need to check on the status if you trusted that the person would not break the rules.
There are two big reasons that you can’t rely on trust and should have a compliance program.
The rules can be complex
Depending on the industry, a company can be subject to hundreds, thousands or even millions of separate rules affecting its internal and external behavior. Some rules are clear and simple to understand. Other rules are very complex and require the organization to interpret how it wants to act in relation to the rule.
I think the vast majority of non-compliance comes from misunderstanding the rules.
An important part of compliance is educating the people in your organization about the rules. They are less likely to inadvertently break a rule if they know the rule exists and what it requires. Also, there are some studies that show intentional non-compliance can be reduced by regular exposure to education about the rules.
There are bad actors
There may be people in your organization who are bad actors. You hope that everyone you’ve hired will act in the best interests of the organization. They were probably trust-worthy when you hired them. But behavior changes.
A role of compliance is to find the bad actors and either change their behavior or get them out of your organization.
Compliance is Pixie Dust
As Peter Pan said: “What’s the matter with you. All it takes is faith and trust. … And something I forgot, dust. Just a little bit of pixie dust.” A good compliance program is the pixie dust.
- The Carnival of Trust – May 2010 Edition by Julian Summerhayes
- Leadership Trust by Jenni Catron
- Client Trust- You Have to Care Enough to Cry
- What Trust Brings to Amazon, Zappos, and USAA by Peter Merholz in the Harvard Business Review‘s The Conversation