By Mona Kay Gorman
Healthcare Compliance and Corporate Training
It’s a good news-bad news scenario: Human Resources, Quality, Legal, and Risk Management are part of a business task force, and Compliance is only consulted right before the plan is executed. The good part is we’re being consulted. The challenge is we’re only brought in at the end of the process. If this sounds familiar, consider these strategies to get invited during the concept and brainstorming process instead of being the last step before “go”.
Develop the relationships before you need them. Get to know your key stakeholders, then nurture and grow the relationship. It doesn’t always have to be about providing guidance – sit down over coffee, chat in the hallway; let them see you outside of a Compliance interaction. Treat them like a customer whose business you want to win – because that is who they are. You’ll be glad you put in the extra work when your customer calls you instead of the other way around.
Do your homework. When your stakeholders feel that you understand their world, they’ll begin to trust you with their ideas and questions. Do everything you can to learn your stakeholders’ world – their activities, their lingo, their business goals. Ask them how you can learn even more about their business. When they see that you care enough to learn, they’re likely to extend invitations to meetings and activities. This is the holy grail of Compliance partnering.
Be a problem-solver instead of an enforcer. In a perfect world, people want to hear from Compliance instead of cringing when we speak up. We can get there by choosing our words carefully when we identify risk. Ask questions instead of voicing concern, find out the goal of the initiative, then work backward. If you can identify the root business need and then work together to remove risky elements, you’ll be the person who helped them achieve their goals instead of the person who said “no”.
Handle challenges with grace and diplomacy. It’s normal for partners to test you in the early stages of a relationship. If you find yourself met with suspicion or veiled hostility, keep your cool, disarm them with humor if that’s your style, and above all, show them that you’re truly interested in moving their objectives forward. Rise to the occasion, and you’ll get invited back.