Three Critical Goals for Compliance Professionals in 2017

Three Critical Goals for Compliance Professionals in 2017By Kristy Grant-Hart

What is it about the new year that creates such optimism and excitement?  January 1 is not inherently different than May 1 or September 1, and yet it feels entirely more important.  The desire to start fresh is universal in human experience.  Within the compliance community, we can use this energy to push our programs forward, to renew our commitment to our work and to set goals that pull us through the next 12 months.

To make this the best year ever for your program and your professional development, try setting three specific types of goals.

  1. Program Goals

If you haven’t written your compliance program goals for 2017, now is a great time to do it.  Try to make your goals specific and realistic, with a timeline associated with major milestones to keep you on track.  Program goals help to focus your energy so you don’t simply fight fires all year long.  You are much more likely to make major progress in one or two areas that you specify rather than make little progress in many areas when your energy is splintered and unfocused.  Try to pick areas about which you are excited, then envision how it will feel to have the goal completed at the end of the year.  Having a clear internal vision of the successfully completed goal will enable you to work toward it knowing that it can be done.

  1. Corporate Influence Goals

In addition to program goals, make goals relating to getting to know the influencers within your company.  Influencers can have overt or covert power.  Overt power is denoted by title; for example, CEO, Manager or Owner.  As important as it is to have the ear of those with overt power, it is also critical to get to know those with covert power.  People with covert power may or may not have high-level titles, but they are important because of their influence.  Frequently these people are charismatic or they are people who have been at the company a long time, and usually they are emotionally close to those with overt power.

Identify two people with overt power and two people with covert power you wish to get closer to over the course of the year.  Ask them to lunch, make a point to go to their coffee station, or try to set up in-person training for their group.  Making a dedicated decision to work with corporate influencers will help you to be more effective when you need support.

  1. Networking and Professional Goals

As important as it is to grow your program and your influence within the company, it is critical that in 2017 you also grow your professional network.  Write down at least one professional goal for this year.  Perhaps this is the year you get your CCEP or CCEP-I certification?  Is this is the year you write an article for Compliance and Ethics Professional Magazine?  Could this be the year you attend that academy or class on an area of compliance you’re not responsible for yet, like money laundering or data privacy?  Make a goal and work toward it.

In addition to your professional goal, make a second resolution to meet at least one new person per month who works within the compliance profession.  If you meet just one person in the compliance field per month, by the end of the year you’ll have twelve new contacts.  That’s twelve more opportunities for people to refer you to your next job or promotion.  Meeting one person a month quickly leads to a network full of people you can introduce to each other, further expanding your influence.

2017 will be a fantastic year for you and the profession, but it will be even better if you plan for it to be great through goal setting.

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Kristy Grant-Hart the author of the book “How to be a Wildly Effective Compliance Officer.”  She is CEO of Spark Compliance Consulting and is an adjunct professor at Widener University, teaching Global Compliance and Ethics.  She can be found at, @KristyGrantHart and emailed at


  1. Kristy,

    Good suggestions indeed!

    A quick take on #1 because I think sometimes people may not realize that when you set a major goal, often it involves steps, tasks, and learning that in my experience helps a person develop in other ways that they may have even imagined when they identified their major goal.

    An example that comes to my which for me was a major goal going into 2017 was to provide a way for compliance professionals to be able to document their activities on an ongoing basis to allow compliance professionals to benefit from using this accounting in various ways. Some of these included better reporting, identifying where time is spent, and identifying trends that may help the compliance professional better manage their resources.

    So when designing what I have since called the Chron Log in Excel to achieve this goal…along the way I improved my skill set in Excel in areas that I would otherwise not have done so. Some of these areas included:
    • Conditional formatting
    • Data validation
    • Logical function creation and troubleshooting
    • Data based computations
    …to name a few.

    So in the end, when the Chron Log was done, I was not only happy that I achieved what I believed to be a significant goal, doing so provided me with an opportunity to be better at Excel in ways that make my used of it even more efficient and effective than before…even though upgrading my Excel skills was certainly not my goal.

    So beyond just identifying a goal and how it may motivate and excite a person as you described, I also believe working towards a goal results in many more benefits that come from working to achieve it.

    Many thanks for sharing!

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