We all feel pressed for time, with a certain unease that demands of the day distract us from the deeper, more strategic success we really want to achieve. So find some space on your shelf for a new book addressing that exact problem: the Wildly Strategic Compliance Officer Workbook by Kristy Grant-Hart.
Grant-Hart is the founder and director of Spark Compliance Consulting, a firm based in London that offers training, assessments, and all the usual compliance consulting services (with an emphasis on the ISO 37001 anti-bribery standard, if you’re into it). Prior to that, Grant-Hart also worked as chief compliance officer at United International Pictures, and in 2016 she published How to Be a Wildly Effective Compliance Officer. So she knows the road compliance officers travel and the pitfalls that can send you flying.
In Wildly Strategic Compliance Officer, Grant-Hart (and co-author Donna Boehme) walks the reader through how to succeed as a compliance officer—which is not the same as how you manage the daily chores of corporate ethics and compliance programs. In fact, a good portion of the book explores how compliance officers too often fall into the swamp of daily compliance chores, at the expense of defining what a “successful” compliance program should do and how to assemble the right support and resources to build one.
The other selling point for this book is that it’s a workbook, jammed with practical exercises to help each reader apply Grant-Hart’s lessons to your own situation. She includes self-quizzes, short answer sections, and even a simple risk matrix you can fill out by hand.
This is where the book’s usefulness really shines. Most compliance professionals, I suspect, already know that the crisis of the day can distract you from your goals; it’s not a hard concept to grasp. When you then think to yourself, “OK, so what am I supposed to do about all this?”—the workbook exercises, corny as they may be, help you to outline what you’re supposed to do.
For example, one early chapter of the book talks about how to select a few key goals for the year and focus on them. Another talks about working with the board to define what risks will be the purview of the compliance department. Other chapters talk about articulating a vision for your compliance program (Grant-Hart recommends basing it on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines), finding the right sources of power to get things done in your company, and arguing effectively for more budget or resources.
Those are strategic skills for a compliance officer—that is, every chief compliance officer needs to master them, at every organization. To a certain point, they are no different than other skills such as knowing how to interview an investigation target or how to simplify key controls are skills. But the latter are tactical skills, that can make you indispensable to a compliance officer. Mastery of strategic skills makes you a chief compliance officer indispensable to the board.
Wildly Strategic Compliance Officer is easy to read (111 pages cover to cover), with plenty of vignettes—usually compliance officers asking Grant-Hart for advice, worried that the tactical demands of the job prevent them from positioning the compliance department strategically to succeed. The e-book is available through Amazon.com for $24.99. It’s value for money, and the issues Grant-Hart discusses will never be obsolete.