Susan Du Becker on Managing from the Middle [Podcast]


By Adam Turteltaub

For all the talk of tone at the top, the reality is that few employees report to the top. Virtually all report to a manager somewhere in the middle, and it’s the tone that leader sets that is often most important.

Susan Du Becker, Director Risk & Compliance at Microsoft believes that compliance teams need to focus on managing from the middle and getting this important level of the organization on board.

So how do you get these managers to work with you? How do you earn their commitment to help, especially in risk areas like privacy and anticorruption? For her, it’s about being inventive and thinking about how you can get them to drive compliance rather than you. To do that, she looks for the key influencers who can serve as champions for the program. They can go upstream or downstream and will help carry the message.

Gaining the support of these people requires some effort, she reports. You have to sell them on your vision and let them know that it is to their benefit to further it. If, for example, you can show the sales VP that getting expense reports right reduces the risk of an audit, keeps the salesforce out of trouble and increases the speed with which the team gets reimbursed, you have a supporter.

Once you have middle managers on board, make their life as easy as possible. Take away the pain, and give them the tools, templates and PowerPoints they need to put the policy into practice.

What should you not do? Become overexuberant. It’s critical to avoid running ahead and instead focus on a stair step approach. Also: remember you have to keep them committed. You can’t take them for granted.

Listen in to learn more about how to make the middle of your organization your greatest supporter.