Updated: Jul 22
In the world of compliance, humility is a critical trait that is often overlooked. The lean principle of being humble is just as important in compliance as it is in any other aspect of business.
The urgency for humility in compliance arises due to the constantly changing and complex regulatory landscape, which necessitates businesses and organizations to navigate regulations efficiently. Non-compliance can have severe consequences, including legal and financial penalties, damage to reputation, and criminal charges.
In addition, the increased focus on corporate social responsibility and ethical behavior demands compliance professionals not only to follow regulations but also act in the best interests of their stakeholders and society at large.
In today's ever-changing regulatory environment, humility in compliance is an urgent necessity for several reasons:
Preventing arrogance: Compliance professionals must constantly deal with complex regulations and laws that are often changing. If they become arrogant in their understanding of these regulations, they may overlook certain nuances or misinterpret them, leading to non-compliance.
Preventing cognitive bias: The compliance landscape is constantly evolving, and there is always something new to learn.
Preventing unethical behaviour: Compliance is not just about following rules and regulations; it is also about behaving ethically.
Preventing miscommunication: Compliance professionals often work with a wide range of stakeholders, from senior executives to front-line employees leaving lots of room for misunderstanding.
How does humility help compliance?
Being humble in compliance means acknowledging that no compliance program is perfect and that there is always room for improvement. It involves recognizing that regulatory requirements and best practices are constantly evolving, and being open to learning from others to stay ahead of the curve.
When organizations approach compliance with humility, they are more likely to identify potential issues and vulnerabilities before they become major problems. They are also more likely to take a proactive approach to compliance, rather than waiting for regulators to identify areas of concern.
Being humble in compliance also means being willing to learn from mistakes. No compliance program is immune to errors, but organizations that are open to feedback and willing to admit when they've made a mistake are better equipped to identify and address the root cause of the problem.
Humility in compliance means recognizing the importance of collaboration. Compliance is not the responsibility of one person or team, but rather a shared responsibility across the organization. When teams work together and are open to feedback and ideas from others, they are better equipped to identify and address compliance issues.
Being humble is a critical aspect of building a successful and sustainable compliance program. By acknowledging that there is always room for improvement, being open to learning from others, and recognizing the importance of collaboration, organizations can stay ahead of the curve and avoid costly compliance issues.
Humility is essential for effective compliance because it promotes continuous learning, ethical behaviour, effective communication, and a mindset that is open to new perspectives and ideas. The lack of these traits hinder compliance from always staying between the lines and ahead of risk.
Steps for becoming more humble
Becoming more humble is a personal journey and requires a willingness to examine oneself and make changes. Here are some steps that may help:
Practice active listening: One way to become more humble is to listen more and talk less. When someone else is speaking, resist the urge to interrupt or interject your own opinions. Instead, focus on understanding their perspective and ask questions to clarify their thoughts.
Cultivate gratitude: Practising gratitude can help shift our focus from ourselves to the people and things around us. Take time each day to reflect on what you are thankful for, and acknowledge the contributions of others.
Embrace vulnerability: Humility often requires us to be vulnerable and admit when we don't have all the answers. Embracing vulnerability means acknowledging that we are not perfect and being open to feedback and constructive criticism.
Seek out diverse perspectives: It's easy to become trapped in our own ways of thinking, but seeking out diverse perspectives can help us broaden our understanding and challenge our assumptions. Make an effort to seek out people with different backgrounds, experiences, and opinions.
Practice self-reflection: Take time to reflect on your actions and behaviors, and consider how they impact others. Be honest with yourself about areas where you may need to improve, and make a plan to address them.
Serve others: Serving others can help us develop a sense of empathy and compassion. Look for opportunities to volunteer or help those in need.
Remember, becoming more humble is a process that takes time and effort. It's important to approach this journey with an open mind and a willingness to learn and grow.