As I reread our team recap of the Chicago SCCE Compliance and Ethics Institute (CEI),1 I realized that I didn’t see any companies using this well-planned event as a training or professional development opportunity for their Compliance teams. Meh! What a missed opportunity! (“I could have had a V-8!”) Given that this superb week of unparalleled best practice sharing, thought leadership, and networking is the product of months of planning by the finely tuned and talented SCCE staff and leadership, and the best and brightest of our profession’s thought leadership and practitioners, there is no better week in
Compliance and Ethics anywhere in the world to leverage as a platform for shared learning and team building. Let me count the ways.
1. Leverage with numbers: Cover the territory.
With more team members attending the CEI, companies can make sure they cover all sessions of significance to them by preassigning the topics. Team members can be responsible for writing a summary of their session, and a “book” of the team experience at the CEI can be compiled for the wider team. As we all know, people learn by teaching, so what better reinforcing protocol is there than to have a series of team webinars following the CEI for each topic, with each team member being responsible as the ongoing subject matter expert for the topics assigned to them? One year, I remember tasking each one of our 40+ attendees to bring back one fresh, great idea from the CEI. That was a good year.
2. Team meetings/meals during CEI.
Another great way to make the most of the CEI is to plan a number of team meetings during the week to discuss new ideas and shared learning. Of course, with proximity to so many thought leaders and subject matter experts, why not reach out to a few individuals to attend your team meetings as guest speakers? With so many CEI receptions, lunches, and dinners, the team can plan to meet and sit together for these events.
3. Networking heaven.
Make sure every team member has their business cards up-to-date to take full advantage of the many networking opportunities, including vendor receptions, breakfasts, the TweetUp, Speed Mentoring, and the Volunteer Project! Many a mentor relationship has been forged in the hallways and reception rooms of the CEI, and this is as important an element of professional development as the sessions themselves.
4. Jump start.
If there is a particular risk area of concern or unresolved questions, consider forming a “task force” of two or three to cover all related sessions and share their notes in a joint report. What better way to “jump start” the team’s approach to a topic (e.g. social media, third-party monitoring) than by starting off with more than one subject matter expert to share the responsibility and strategize? If you’ve got the resources, use them.
5. Exhibit Hall.
A few team members can also be assigned to seriously survey the Exhibit Hall to ensure the team is up-to-date on all current offerings and services from the many professional services companies that study and support our profession. All these folks spend time and energy presenting their best to us during the CEI, so the team should be sure to take stock of the potential expertise on offer.
6. Boot camp.
As I’ve written here,2 one critical orientation step for all those transitioning into Compliance and Ethics from another discipline is “Knowing what you don’t know,” or as we used to say in our team Compliance 101 Orientation sessions, “Taking two steps to the right.” Understanding that you are entering a new profession, with decades of practice developing its own mindset,
mandate, core competencies, and expertise is an important step to succeeding in this new discipline, and I can think of no better way to drive this point home than spending three and a half productive days smack dab in the center of this new profession, experiencing the “buzz” of learning and thought leadership firsthand. It’s the difference between “telling” and “showing” that is an irreplaceable “seeing it for yourself” experience—the one thing that may tip the scales for some new practitioners and explain why compliance and ethics requires immersion learning and not simply trying to approach the job through old paradigms or viewing everything through the prism of another, more familiar profession. I‘ve been known to bring colleagues from HR and Legal, or a compliance champion network to these events, for the same reason. Seeing is believing.
7. Extend the benefits for months.
Because the CEI creates so many opportunities to bask in the unity and shared experiences of the profession, many CCO’s find value in extending the learning and networking into the Compliance team’s training architecture for months after the CEI. I have personally encouraged continued networking; exchange of visits from other teams; presentations to a wider circle of compliance champions, subject matter experts, enabling partners, and supporters; and follow up memos on topics of interest to the wider team. Once back in the office, we updated our training architecture to incorporate all the new learning opportunities flowing from the CEI experience. The possibilities nearly wrote themselves. Many of my team members developed mentors and members of their thought circles from networking at the CEI.
I once asked the Oracle before a panel, “What one piece of advice would you give to those transitioning into Compliance and Ethics?” And he said, “Leave your old career behind!” And to that I add “learn from your peers and develop a thought circle” as early as possible! On so many levels, the SCCE CEI is the place to start this endeavor. As Mike Scher, a senior editor of the widely read FCPA, recently observed: “Compliance officers at SCCE forums are standing on each others’ shoulders, learning from each other about innovative management techniques and professional expertise to make the new role
a reality.” This fairly sums up for me the state of our profession right now, and precisely why I encourage clients and new CECOs alike to take advantage of this one of a kind gift to the profession that is the annual SCCE CEI, and leverage it for the magnificent professional development experience for the Compliance team that it can be. ✵
1. Stankiewicz, Matt: “1,500 Strong – A Recap of the 2014 SCCE CEI.” The Compliance Strategists Blog. Available at: http://bit.ly/1C56eT0
2 . Boehme, Donna: “Yes, Virginia, Compliance and Ethics is a Profession.” The Compliance Strategists Blog; October 29, 2012. Available at: http://bit.ly/HvTJM23. See also Boehme, Donna: “GM’s DIY Compliance #WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong? Corporate Counsel, October 16, 2014. Available at: bit.ly/1nCkJJb
3. Boehme, Donna: “When Compliance and Legal Don’t See Eye to Eye.” The Compliance Strategists Blog; May 8, 2014. Available at: http://bit.ly/1gmJRAo. See also Boehme, Donna: “Skydiving into Compliance, with eyes wide open.” Compliance & Ethics Professional; January 2014. Available at: http://bit.ly/1isLg5G
Donna Boehme (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Principal of Compliance Strategists and former Chief Compliance and Ethics Officer for two leading multinationals. Her full bio can be viewed here bit.ly/donnaboehme @DonnaCBoehme