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Seeing Compliance as a Whole

When it comes to compliance many believe that it all comes down to integrity.

When it comes to integrity, according to Dr. Henry Cloud, it all comes down to being whole.

Dr. Henry Cloud in his book, "Integrity" suggests that a person of integrity is a person of balanced integration of all that character affords. In his book he explores six qualities of character that defines integrity:

  1. The ability to connect authentically

  2. The ability to be oriented towards the truth

  3. The ability to work in away to get results and finishes well

  4. The ability to embrace, engage, and deal with the negative

  5. The ability to be oriented towards growth

  6. The ability to be transcendent

If people are able to perform well in these areas good results are inevitable. However, as Dr. Cloud reminds us, " integration of all the parts is key."

The opposite of integration is compartmentalization or reductionism. This means that a part of you is operating without the benefits of the other parts, and that usually doesn't end well. When one part of our character is preference over the others we become "unbalanced" or "misaligned."

We have all heard the phrase, "he is just too trusting to be of any good."

What we mean by this is that the person trusts too much and is possibly ignoring reality or negative signals. The trust ability has become corrupted and in many ways and ironically, "cannot be trusted."

Considering integrity as a whole – an integration of the parts – not only applies for people who desire to live lives of integrity, it also applies to the use of compliance programs intended to keep an organization aligned with their mission, vision and values. Compliance programs and systems need to operate as a whole – an integration of its parts – if good results are to become inevitable.

Unfortunately, for many organizations, compliance is seen only as one part that is "internal audit." Very little is done to develop other essential capabilities needed to continuously keep organizations between the lines towards mission success. This results all too often in an increasing non-conformance debt leaving a wake of missteps, failure, and possible ruin rather than a wake of good results.

Dr. Cloud subtitles his book on integrity, "the courage to meet the demands of reality." You could say that this is a good subtitle for all people, organizations and communities that operate with integrity. They are the ones who are facing reality one aspect of which includes that their parts need to operate as a whole. Each part contributing to and keeping each other balanced and on course.

We can take Dr. Cloud's character qualities for integrity and adapt them to compliance where characteristics of effective compliance programs would include the following all working together:

  1. The ability to connect authentically with stakeholders which leads to trust

  2. The ability to be oriented towards the truth which leads to focusing on what really matters

  3. The ability to work in a way to continuously achieve better outcomes which leads to a reduction of harm, improved reputation, and increased stakeholder value.

  4. The ability to embrace the negative which leads to improving the certainty of mission success.

  5. The ability to be oriented towards growth which leads to an increase in the things that are valued by all stakeholders.

  6. The ability to understand that it is only one part of a larger whole which leads to an integrated system.

The gaps we find are the opportunities for growth. The good news is that these gaps can be developed and improved over time. We often refer to this growth as "capability maturity" when it applies to systems or just "maturity" when it refers to you and I.

Maturing is something that we all need to continue doing because we all know we are not yet all that we can or need to be and this is true for compliance systems as well.



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