In 2013 the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission slapped an energy company with two separate $500,000 fines for a natural gas explosion that killed five people in Allentown. You know, killed. As in dead. These are people just like those from your neighborhood. $1M dollars total.
In 2016 the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the same regulator, fined Uber $11.4 million for providing rides to people in PA without state permission. Rides. You know, like the kind you give your kid to baseball practice daily. Rides. $11.4 million. For a mile or two.
If the massive difference seems strange to you, well you’re in good company. Two of the regulators current commissioners were even opposed to the fine. Or maybe, they should have been opposed to how low the fine was for the energy companies.
What are the energies at play here? Why was the energy company given a pass and Uber hit so hard with the fine? Are there dollars behind the scenes? Well, one would never suggest that, because it would just be speculation of course. It could also be inertia where this-is-the-way-we-have-always-fined-the-gas-companies, so it is a “reasonable fine.” That is the way we do it in Pennsylvania and if the gas company appeals former fines will be what they would point back to as precedence.
Entrepreneurs have a serious up-hill battle when they look to disrupt entrenched thinking. Trying to change the way products or services are made, consumed, or both, forces people to do things differently, and that requires a delicate approach to the existing systems of power that are in place, and those who don’t want to lose their power–their perception of power actually.
If you’ve read my previous posts your familiar with what I refer to as the “Compliance Effect”. Often, as compliance professionals, people are not always happy to see us when we walk in the room. They noticeably shrink in their seats just waiting to hear us deliver the news that they can’t do something because of the “rules”.
However, in order to minimize the sting of the word “no” there are ways in which compliance officers can more effectively communicate.
We can adjust our communication style to more effectively connect with people. It is no different than when we talk with our children or a beloved grandparent. We adjust how we communicate with them. We must reflect how the person is talking with us. Are they calm? Are they high energy? In my work, if I’m talking to someone who is more laid-back, I want to respect their personal way of communicating and I too become more laid-back. We must mirror how they are communicating so that they are comfortable with us.
The same holds true in listening. We must adjust our needs to communicate and really listen because we really need to understand what it is they are trying to do. This takes effort and concentration because most of the time we are trying to explain our own position. By being patient and listening to the challenges the person is facing and letting them “get it all out” I find that they are more than willing at the end to listen to what I need to say, and by that time, it is very little, because I’m able to tailor the message exactly to what they need to hear.
It is important to be patient to demonstrate respect for their side of the story and also let them know that I comprehend their side of the story by reflecting not only their personal way of communicating, but also repeating back what they told me in their own words. This demonstrates both empathy on my part, but it also demonstrates flexibility on my part of being able to talk to many types of people. If you want people to love you as a compliance officer, be sure to respect a person’s communication style and really listen to where they are coming from. They have challenges too!
To effectively put these into practice will take time, effort and energy. Be patient, persevere and you can still feel the love…even if your delivering “no”.
Your ability to perform a task has value. Historically that ability is valued based on several factors. One of the most significant factors is the amount of time it takes to complete the task.
This has created a paradigm where often we gauge our worth based on time. How much time it takes to complete a project is how we value the price of the project. When employed by a company or organization, in effect, we sell them our time. We agree to take an amount of time and practically apply our knowledge to complete tasks in that order.
Unfortunately, this model is limiting.
You see, your knowledge is valuable, not just inside of your company, but outside of those walls as well. There is a false sense of containment in your knowledge, limited by it’s ability to be used by only one entity. In some cases today, that isn’t true. For instance, in developing regulatory content. You can sell it not just to one outlet, but to many.
Knowledge is the same way. Are you undervaluing your knowledge and its value in the market? New models related to how we work and earn money are being created. How can you scale the knowledge you currently use, to earn money for yourself?
As compliance professionals, you have all experienced the “compliance effect”. This is when you enter a meeting, elevator, or other business setting and things get a little quiet. The tension goes up…just a little bit. Sales people often deal with similar situations, so using sales strategies can help solve the problem.
So how can compliance professionals act more like sales (crazy, I know)? Here are three ways.
1) Build social relationships – Adopt a view that work is a place you spend half your waking life; it’s an opportunity to build social relationships. Try to find common interests. When you visit a colleague’s work area “steal with your eyes”- looking for clues that allow you to have more comfortable conversations.
For some, building new social relationships can be a little awkward, but keep in mind today’s close friends were once strangers.
2) Be an effective listener – This is actually a science. If you Google it, you’ll be amazed at the volume of info available on the subject.
Usually people focus their attention on their own views in conversation. Effective listening compensates for this tendency by focusing on others’ views.
3) Be Caring – Conventional wisdom tells us that caring does not belong in business, I disagree. Genuinely caring about your colleagues provides the opportunity to understand their challenges.
One great way to create a more caring environment is to celebrate milestones. Celebrating milestones (birthdays, anniversaries) with a simple card or an email (card is better) shows we can celebrate the little things that really bring us together.
Every interaction we have is an opportunity to build positive relationships with others. Put these tips into practice and maybe you will see less of the compliance effect and more relationship effectiveness.
We’ve all heard of Uber, Ebay, Airbnb. You may use them. These services are part of what is often referred to as the sharing economy, collaborative consumption or, as I recently read “Ubernomics”.
The basic concept is pretty simple: leveraging new technology to market your assets to a rapidly expanding network of buyers. One of the great benefits of these solutions is the ability to market to and exchange with people all over the world, often from the comfort of your own home.
Whether it’s your home, your car or your camera, these services are expected to surpass $335 billion of revenue flow by 2025. “At that rate, peer-to-peer sharing is moving from an income boost in a stagnant wage market into a disruptive economic force,” says Forbes’ Tomio Geron.
As a compliance professional, one of your most valuable assets is your knowledge; more specifically, your ability to look at complex regulations and transform them into operational business requirements. Traditionally, this asset has been “purchased” by one buyer: your employer.
But there’s no reason why the shared economy can’t also change the compliance world. In fact, we’re now on the verge of a major shift in the way compliance work is performed, delivered and purchased.
uCompli is a software platform that connects compliance professionals to the shared economy in ways that will revolutionize the way they work. It enables compliance experts to choose the work they’ll do, simplifies the process for converting regulatory analysis into a sellable product and connects them to a global network of customers. These changes represent a dramatic increase in financial opportunity and a new standard of occupational independence in the compliance profession.
I hope you’ll come along for the ride.
When most folks think of the shared economy (if they think of it at all) they think of ride-sharing, or graphic design.
There is another type of “sharing” that, as it takes hold, will change the way compliance professionals do work. It is the sharing of a knowledge worker’s talent and time.
In my previous company, compliance professionals working from home, translated regulations into business requirements which were loaded into software. The software electronically delivered the requirements to insurance companies all over the US and Canada.
Their ability to electronically share their knowledge, gave them the flexibility to work where and when they wanted.
Studies have shown that by 2020 40% of the workforce is projected to be independent. The ability one has to tap in and connect their talent, will have a direct effect on their work. This new model brings the work to the worker.
Compliance professionals currently working in cubes or offices will give way to co-working spaces or working from home (or wherever you want). Work is evolving, we will be asked to re-imagine what happens when our entire work life is available to us on a laptop or mobile device.