You have probably heard the saying that a windshield is large, and a rearview mirror is small so you should spend your time looking forward rather than living in the past. While that is great life advice, it isn’t always applicable in the world of compliance. Every compliance program should have goals and desired objectives that establish the future of the program, but much of an effective compliance program is to look backward to determine if the policies, procedures, and systems that have been put in place are doing what they were designed to do. We do this through strong auditing programs that allow us to analyze results and figure out if any tweaks need to be made to achieve the objective of employees doing the right thing, the right way, at the right time.
Another way to look backward in order to move forward, is reflection. As we roll into the final month of the year, there is tremendous value is taking time to reflect on the compliance program and how it functioned over the last 11 months. Often, in the heat of the moment, it is difficult to maintain perspective in terms of the big picture. Taking time to reflect on what went right, and what could have gone better, over the last year allows the compliance officer, and the compliance committee, to design a work plan for the coming year that is designed to build upon the successes and improve those areas that provide an opportunity for growth.
In life it is important to not dwell on the past; in compliance, reflecting on the past can make the future better.