7 Habits That Will Make You a Better Compliance Professional

Most of us are familiar with Stephen R. Covey’s popular book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It provides timeless insight for both personal and professional effectiveness. As compliance professionals, we’re often striving to measure the effectiveness of our compliance programs as well as gauge our own personal effectiveness as compliance officers and I think Covey’s seven habits can serve as a good litmus test for it.

The 7 Habits of a Highly Effective Compliance Officer are:

  1. Be Proactive
  2. Begin With the End In Mind
  3. Put First Things First
  4. Think Win/Win
  5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
  6. Synergize
  7. Sharpen the Saw

Be Proactive

In Covey’s book, he wrote a section about how you need to “Act or Be Acted Upon.” Those of us who have worked in compliance for a while know how true is this statement. I think much of our compliance work can be divided into two “buckets,” so to speak:

  1. Proactive Compliance
  2. Reactive Compliance.

Every compliance program will have work in both buckets, but in general, the more compliance work we do proactively, the less we will have to do in a reactive mode.

For example, many privacy and HIPAA security professionals say, “it’s not if you will have a HIPAA breach, but rather when you will have it.” There is a lot of truth to this statement in terms of trying to prevent any possible breach in the future. It’s not always possible. Do your best at prevention but being proactive in this area of compliance also means preparing for a breach by having a mitigation plan in place before a breach occurs. This might include vetting a company or being prepared to hire temporary staff to handle phone calls and media inquiries if you need to publicly announce the breach. It might also include researching credit monitoring services and costs of such services for those affected by the breach. Do this proactively, and have these services planned ahead of time to make managing an unexpected breach much easier. Long story, short: the more proactive we can be in our compliance work, the less reactive we’ll have to be.

Like what you see here? Fantastic! Download my free eBrief, 7 Habits of a Highly Effective Compliance Officer, to learn all 7 habits and how they will make you a much better compliance officer. It will only take you a second and you’ll be a more effective compliance officer for it.

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