This is a guest post written by Patrick Henz. Patrick is and author, as well as Head of Governance & Compliance US and Regional Compliance Officer Americas.
Eddie Jordan began as a racing driver before he founded his own team. Starting in the British Formula 3 Championship, the team entered 1988 the Formula 3000-series. Here he had a good eye for young talents, as in these three years he signed drivers as Johnny Herbert, and the later Ferrari drivers Eddie Irvine and Jean Alesi. With the latter, Jordan won the ’89 championship. Inspired by this success, Jordan Grand Prix entered in 1990 the Formula 1 circus. Due to its relative small budget, the team signed young talented drivers, such as Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. Together with more sponsors came also experienced drivers, like Damon Hill, Ralf Schumacher, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Giancarlo Fisichella. Thanks to the talented drivers and a solid car, Jordan Grand Prix remains one of only five current teams to have won multiple races in the past 25 years.
In the podcast “F1: Beyond the Grid” Eddie Jordan had a precious recommendation for all kind of entrepreneurs, which at the same time is also valid for Compliance professionals: “Don’t hide behind your desk!”
To become a successful Compliance Officer it is not enough to follow procedures and execute controls you closed office, but instead you must meet the employees at their places. The goal for a Compliance Officer should be to become recognized as a “trusted advisor”. This includes two sub-roles, being a trusted expert, but also a trusted colleague. It makes no sense being the biggest Compliance expert, if you have no idea about the business and how the company is earning the money. Also visibility is needed so that employees can perceive their Compliance Officer as a trusted colleague, who is not just talking about Compliance, but living it as a good example. For this it is helpful not to see everybody as a potential risk factor, but starting from the idea that more than 99% of the employees are good and honest people, making daily their best effort for the good of the company. These people are to be protected and prepared so that they will not get into trouble via accident (or through a case caused by the less than 1% black sheep, which you may have).
From the start, as Compliance Office you have to trust the employees (Enzo Ferrari: “I give my collaborators a great trust. Complete trust.”) if you not want to become paranoid, but you have to be prepared that in the beginning you will not receive the same level of trust back from them. For this, as a Compliance Officer you have to be prepared to earn trust, for example with visibility, accessibility, perception as efficient problem-solver and walk the talk. It is not enough to be at the own desk, but you have to meet the employees(internal clients) at their place; could be in office, factory, at the project site. This investment is important as you need the employees to build trust in you, as only with this they may come forward to you for difficult topics or would use the offered whistle-blower hotlin