Compliance Lessons from the #BettyWhiteChallenge

Golden retriever puppy in adoption center

Margaret ScavottoBy Margaret Scavotto, JD, CHC
President, Management Performance Associates

As 2022 comes to a close, I have been revisiting the year’s formative events, and trying to focus on the positive ones. Betty White made the list.

Betty White died on December 31, 2021. She was 99.

To honor her 100th birthday – January 17, 2022 – the internet buzzed with the #BettyWhiteChallenge.

Because Betty was a life-long animal lover and advocate, Betty White fans across the country rallied together to raise money for animal shelters in her name. The call? Donate $5 to a local animal shelter in Betty White’s name. My favorite animal shelter, Stray Rescue of St. Louis, gave a “Thank you for being a friend” shirt to everyone who donated $100 or more.

The response exceeded the call: Almost 400,000 people contributed a total of $12.7 million for the cause, in a single day. That’s about $30 per person – not a huge amount. But collectively, fans of Golden Girl Rose raised more than twelve million dollars. That’s a lot of money gathered with an initial request of $5.

Small contributions matter.

Compliance can feel like a mountain to climb. A never-ending to-do list that lengthens, rather than shortens, each day. A Herculean task.

If that’s how compliance feels to you, or to your organization, think small. Think five minutes instead of five dollars. What can you do in five minutes a day? Could you check in with one department head to see where they need compliance help, or how an auditing initiative is going? That would add up to a lot of conversations in a short amount of time.

What could you do in thirty minutes per week? Could you schedule a routine walk around the halls, meeting employees individually with a quick compliance trivia question? If you spent 30 minutes doing this every week, how many people would you talk with in six months?

This is of course an oversimplification of the hefty work behind compliance. A lot of what we do can’t be done in five minutes, or an hour. Larger time commitments will always be needed. But don’t overlook the positive impact of little efforts. When you commit to those daily, weekly, and monthly tasks, they will grow into meaningful results. And meaningful results provide great motivation – and momentum – for those bigger, mountainous tasks.

Just think of what things will look like a year from now if you commit 10 minutes a day, or a week, to a task. As Betty White (as Rose) would say, I’ll get the cheesecake while we wait.