Are really compliance and risk management best practices for improving and developing your enterprise’s ethical profile? Let’s see what companies think and feel.
At my company we have a motto:
If ethics is your attitude, compliance will be your guideline; if it is not, compliance will be a burden.
As we already mentioned, it is common to find managers complaining about how compliance is progressively turning into a cage in which they have no extra room -and time- to develop the business.
Plus, in the recent years some surveys have been testifying to how many managers are affected by the so-called compliance-related lack of sleep: apparently it seems to be due to the stress resulting from their commitment to compliance and, more exactly, from the worry of an accidental, even unintentional event that may destroy in a few seconds the reputation built over the years.
As suggested by the above mentioned motto, the solution, even preceding and preventing the problem, is to introduce or enhance a strong and widespread ethical consciousness at any levels of the organisation.
Such shared consciousness about values, when it comes to correct behaviours, will likely and even naturally induce the respect for the applicable rules that are just the guideline to effectively pursue those values.
In conclusion, any operating compliance-related objectives, though important, shall lie on an ethical consciousness spread all over the entire organisation.
That is why a slogan of ours represents our strong and convinced moral choice
Compliance is not making business harder, it’s making business better
The perfect world - you may say - where an ethical attitude is enough. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. Nor is the business arena a land of ethics and values!
And even when all the proper methods and tools have been put in place, risks may occur of inappropriate behaviours. Even involuntarily or unwittingly!
So what else is needed? Rules, regulations. And controls that both of them are respected.
Any even sophisticated ERM is not worth a dime without an operational discipline every single individual of an organisation abides by.
We often listen to people saying: "Controls? They are just papers."
Without a firm, strict respect by anyone in the company and someone/something systemically checking such respect, they actually are just papers...
Or we can hear: "We do have a Code of Ethics! " . But a Code of Ethics is nothing without procedures, policies, rules and tools and, most importantly, without someone who’s in charge of ensuring they are respected by each and every individual.
And indeed rules, when known, shared and applied throughout the entire organisation, are not a burden for anyone! Neither for those who have to enforce them, nor for those who have to abide by them. They are just a guideline on how to behave.
Thus coming back to our motto…