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Thoughts on Compliance and Revolutions

As I sip on my second cup of coffee this morning, trying to shake off the hazy, lazy long weekend, I’m also reflecting on July 4th and all the things it represents to me.

Things like independence, freedom, revolution and brilliantly colored lights blooming in the night sky.

Strangely enough, these same themes show up in my work in insurance compliance as well. (Well, minus the fireworks…sadly.)

What the what? How could that be?!

“Compliance is there to say, ‘no.’”

“Compliance is there to police the business.”

“Compliance doesn’t stand for independence and freedom!!”

When I type those things, I feel a deep sadness. For me, compliance is not a four letter word. And I’m on a personal mission to challenge that perception. A soft revolution; a quiet rebellion.

No declarations have been signed, but each day I work on how to best educate others about compliance. Everything from providing substantive knowledge for those working in compliance, to how to talk about compliance issues with others so that it’s seen as helpful, and not preventing business.

Why? Because compliance can be transformative for an organization. When compliance efforts are supported and celebrated, the integrity of a business can be protected. That’s the value that compliance can bring. We must challenge the negative stereotypes of what this function does, and continue to show how it can be used to propel a business forward.

The work of compliance isn’t easy. Even for companies that have high-functioning compliance departments, challenges persist. Hard decisions need to be made and sometimes the answer is just, “No, we can’t do that.”

Still, just because something may feel uncomfortable, doesn’t mean that that’s the end goal.

Compliance isn’t out to stop the good, the creative, the innovative. It’s there to help make sure that those things are maintained, and are accurate. It helps create an environment for those things to thrive. It sets the backdrop for those brilliant, booming lights to shine.

There'll probably never be a national holiday for compliance (maybe a hashtag if we're lucky...,) but for all of you out there in compliance land, I hope you'll join me in this revolution to change the perception of the work we do. With a sparkler raised high in the sky, let's celebrate the light that compliance can bring.