Back In My Day We Didn’t Have Compliance (Happy Grandparents’ Day!)
National Grandparents’ Day is coming up on September 10 and it got us thinking about all the grandparent advice we heard when we were younger, like “wait 30 minutes to swim after you eat” and “no one likes a smarty pants” that we just kinda… dismissed.
Well, flash forward decades later and we’re all adults with adult jobs. And all that grandparent advice turned out to have a ton of parallels that apply to our lives as E&C pros!
(It’s true! We even feature grandma in one of our decision trees!)
Source: Disney's The Princess Bride via Giphy.com
So, as a “thank you” to all the grandparents who looked out for us back in the day, we’re sharing some of the advice we Broadcats received as kids, and how they can be applied to our compliance jobs now.
“Never do anything once that you don't want to do for the rest of your life.” 🙈
While E&C teams need to own what’s assigned to them (things like codes, policies, procedures, training, etc.) it’s literally not possible for compliance to own everything. It’s incumbent on us to communicate that compliance is the responsibility of the entire organization. How do you do that? Set boundaries; not precedents.
You’re there to support the organization broadly, ensure consistency and equity, and drive a culture where all boats rise because everyone is pulling in the same direction, the right way. Don’t do someone else’s job for them or you’ll just end up turning that job into your responsibility. Instead, partner with them to work through how to best manage the risks that the job presents and instill the processes necessary for them to do it compliantly (and on their own).
“No one likes a smarty pants.” 🤓
Let’s get real for a minute. Many of us E&C folks come from some sort of legal background. And in spite of our best efforts, it’s easy to let law school and legal training slip into our day-to-day life, which can make things a bit complicated.
Don’t believe me? Ask a non-lawyer friend to read one of your policies and give you honest feedback. My bet is that the words they use won’t include “brief” or “simple.” But if you ask them how they should behave in a situation that is covered by that policy, their reply will probably be brief AND simple. Don’t make things harder than they need to be. Do the work to break down your comms into words, phrases, themes, and language that's easy to follow and apply.
Source: Lady Gaga by Apple Music via Giphy.com
“Wait 30 minutes before you go swimming.” 🏊
Whenever something goes sideways, it’s hard to not want to jump in and start implementing fixes, but your best move might be to take a beat. (Lots of times compliance failures are not actual emergencies, but obvs use your judgment!) Just like swimming after a meal, hold off for a bit to get your footing.
Make sure you understand the facts—not just the panic. Begin to unpack what went wrong, who’s involved, who else needs to know, and what damage control needs to happen. Then, once you really know what’s what, you can start looking at ways to fix any underlying problems.
“Investing now pays off in the future.” 💰
Budgets always seem to be an uphill battle for E&C teams. You know that investment in your program is the nourishment that helps it grow. The hard part is getting others to realize it. We’ve spent a lot of time on this in the past (here and here and here). Invest in yourself by taking some time to read this guidance (or refresh your memory on it), but here’s the quick summary: Make sure your risk management tactics actually break down into measurable data. Then, do the math!
And last but certainly not least… “Always take care of yourself.”
You have a stressful job and you carry a lot for your organization. It’s crucial to find an outlet outside of work for you to put energy into and that can re-energize you. If you’re not bringing your A-game, you won’t be able to keep up the pace that a job like ours demands. So find that thing that gives you joy! If it’s birdwatching, head outside! If it’s exercise, hit the trail (or gym, or a Pickleball court)! If it’s family, do something together. Having an outlet gives your brain and body the breaks they need.
Source: Cat Kitten GIF by MOODMAN via Giphy.com
Thank you to all the awesome grandparents, both here and in our hearts! 🥰