In a previous webinar I was asked this question with respect to compliance:
Question: What would be the one area of an organization to start the focus on transitioning from reactive to proactive compliance?
Short answer: the area where the obligations are most at risk.
Longer answer: organizational designs based on "Taylor-ism" structure themselves around the specialization of work. Each level of work will have a different time horizon. The first level of work is concerned with the here and now; what will I do today, this hour, this moment. The next layer of work focuses on what needs to be done this week and so on up the organization.
The level of reactivity will be the highest at the bottom of the organization and should become more proactive as you move up the organization.
What we have observed is that the transition between reactive and proactive occurs most often at the director level of the organization; those that direct or lead managers. They are concerned more with effectiveness rather than efficiency. They will have a time horizon (1-3 years) that requires that they set goals, identify strategies, and anticipate and contend with risk which are all proactive activities.
However, in many organizations directors are not proactive and instead manage managers rather than direct them. So I would begin with the directors of quality, safety, environmental, and regulatory programs. If they are not proactive the company can never be.
Lean Compliance has a program to help directors become more proactive with their compliance. More information can be found here.