There are a myriad of compliance and ethics conferences across the country each year. I regularly attend and speak at some of these. There are also more regular webinar and local events which may focus on specific topics or themes. However, there are relatively few educational programs, put on by universities or business schools which focus on the ‘how to’ of compliance leadership. This situation will soon change. A recent article in the European Business Review, entitled “Leading with Ethics and Compliance”, author Mark Meaney discussed the Occupy Wall Street movement and similar protests in the context of the requirement for “business schools to address the need for greater accountability and transparency in business decision-making.” He pointed towards Dean Rich Lyons of the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, who has argued for the “importance of creating a culture within the business school that encourages students to go beyond themselves as future business leaders in learning to accept responsibility for the impact on society of their actions.”
In addition to its traditional business school curriculum the Haas School also has “training and education for individuals who will have as their function to change the ethical climate of corporations from the inside in their role as Chief Ethics and Compliance Officers (CECOs).” This outreach program is based upon research done at the Haas School which concluded that compliance programs usually adopt one of two approaches to corporate ethics and compliance training: a rules-based approach or a values-based approach. The Haas School has taken the belief that neither approach is entirely effective at corporate compliance and ethics. In a rules-based approach, compliance programs use “deterrence as a means of enforcing employee compliance with corporate policies, ethical standards, and government rules and regulations.”
This emphasis on the rules and the investigation and punishment of employees creates a ‘culture of fear’ that stifles open communication. In a values-based approach, compliance programs will “emphasize creating a corporate culture that encourages employees to speak up about potential issues without the fear of retaliation. While a vast improvement over the rules-based approach, the values-based approach to corporate compliance and ethics still does not go far enough.” The Haas School’s approach is that an ethics and compliance program only becomes truly effective when an organization fully integrates compliance into the company’s overall strategic planning process. Once senior executives make the connection between brand reputation and success in an “idea economy” they will realize the return on investment (ROI) of an ethics and compliance program. Companies can then learn how best to leverage their ethics and compliance programs in strategic planning to maximize innovation and performance with integrity in gaining a competitive edge.
The focus has led to the creation of an executive learning program, entitled “Leading with Ethics and Compliance”, which is designed to provide compliance practitioners with the necessary tools that will empower them to achieve strategic relevance by partnering with key decision makers to cultivate influence, earning a reputation as a creative thinker intent on progress and not obstruction, and by measuring how ethics and compliance improves the organization’s ability to meet its corporate objectives. This intensive three day intensive course will be taught at the UC Berkeley, Center for Executive Education from February 13 to 15.
I had the opportunity to review the agenda and its faculty and speakers recently and it appears to have an impressive array of notables in the compliance and ethics field. The faculty includes the aforementioned Mark Meaney and others from the Haas School, melded with speakers from a wide range of compliance practices, both in-house and third party service providers. The curriculum includes the following broad categories:
(1) Ethics and Compliance 3.0, which includes topics such as From Check Box to Culture to Strategy; Ethics, Compliance, and Organizational Strategy; and Leading Change, Leveraging Culture.
(2) The E&C Officer as Strategic Partner, including topics such as Power and Influence with Integrity; Transformational Leadership and Building Your Base.
(3) Tools of the Successful E&C Officer; including such topics as Data Privacy and Security in Information Management; Managing Hotlines and Conducting Internal Investigations; Global Compliance Risk Mitigation; and Sector Regulatory Update.
If you hold a leadership position in compliance, or aspire to, this Haas School program would appear to be an excellent place for you to hear about some of the most current best practices in compliance leadership. For more information on the program, click here.
© Thomas R. Fox, 2012