Be the Mayor, not the Sheriff

Are you getting in the way or helping to move your organization forward?

Inevitably, compliance professional will need to step in and stop an activity or start a discipline process for someone who broke the rules. That does not have to be the primary focus of the your job, or the compliance profession.

Frank Sheeder, of the Healthcare Compliance Blog put together a story on How to Fail as a Compliance Officer. Number two on the list was “Acting like the sheriff instead of the mayor.”

That lead to a childhood flashback of the old McDonald Land populated by Mayor McCheese and Officer Big Mac, with the Hamburglar stealing burgers, the Fry Guys stealing fries, and Captain Crook trying to steal the Filet-o-Fish. I vaguely remember Grimace originally stealing shakes, before he became more law-abiding (and more cuddly with fewer arms).

Of course you need an enforcement function. You need to punish an offender, even if he is the CEO (well, sort of).

The primary function of compliance should be educating the employees about the rules. You should evaluate rules that are causing problems and see if there is a better way to deal with the issue. You should look for weaknesses in the company’s operations and policies so you can improve them.

Be the mayor. Wear a sash instead of a badge.

Images are property of McDonald’s, who apparently stole them from Sid and Marty Krofft, the creators of H.R. Pufnstuf, Sid & Marty Krofft Television Productions, Inc. v. McDonald’s Corp., 562 F.2d 1157 (1977)

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