Deena King on Avoiding a Compliance Winchester House [Podcast]

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By Adam Turteltaub

The Winchester Mystery House is both an unusual tourist destination, and a good metaphor, as it turns out.  Built by an eccentric heiress who never stopped making changes and additions to it, the home is filled with dead-end passages and stairs that lead nowhere, a result of the constant building. Ultimately it grew to 24,000 square feet, 10,000 windows and 2,000 doors.

In this podcast, Deena King, author of Compliance in One Page and a working compliance professional, tips her hat to Andrew Nebbett of Ethisphere and the warning to avoid creating a Winchester House of a compliance program.

Too often compliance programs have one piece of another built onto them as they grow to accommodate more risk areas and parts of the organization. Worse, sometimes those pieces operate independently, leading to redundant efforts and a lack of cross pollination of ideas.

To avoid this chaotic mishmash, she advises pursuing what she calls “strategic compliance”. Instead of focusing on the seven elements of the program, focus on the ultimate goal: to prevent, find and fix problems. Then treat the elements as a means, not an end.

Develop a strategic model, she advises, and then push it out through the organization. It helps prevent additions that are separate from the main program and don’t really fit with it.

Set up, too, a network for your compliance teams to communicate with each other, share insights and avoid learning dead ends.

Listen in to learn more, and let us know if you’ve been to the Winchester Mystery House.