I received a text message today from someone with whom I have been friends for over 20 years. Our friendship has had its ups and downs, and even some rocky times, but through it all we have remained friends. He is retired now and climbing mountains in Colorado while I am still working away each and every day. He likes to send me videos of the incredible adventures he has to sort of rub it in that even though he is younger than me, he is retired and does what he wants to do! Yep, I guess that is what friends are for.
We have all had friendships that we thought would last, but once we moved to a different town, or even a different part of the same town, or changed jobs, those friendships seemed to fade away in time. True, long-lasting friendships take work. During the highs and the lows, there has to be a level of commitment to the friendship that says “it is worth the effort”, and that commitment provides the foundation for a friendship measured in decades rather than months.
Building an effective compliance program requires that same sort of “long haul” commitment. There are times when the program chugs along like a well-oiled machine, but there are also times when things are not so smooth. Maybe the compliance officer is out on extended leave, or the organization is short staffed, (I know, that NEVER happens!), or maybe a pandemic hits and the entire focus shifts to just trying to keep people healthy. Even in those rocky times, there should be a commitment to the compliance program, and to putting forth the effort to keep it up, running, and effective. Compliance programs can often get pushed aside because “other dogs are barking louder.” Not only does neglecting the compliance program open the organization up to risk of bad activity, it can also make re-building the program much harder. Putting forth the effort to consistently work on the compliance program, and to ensure it is seen as an important part of the organization results in a program that is around for a long time detecting and deterring bad activity.
Just like my friendship with Dave which has lasted over the decades because we have been willing to put forth the effort, your compliance program will stand the test of time if you consistently make it a priority for the organization.