Building better culture and compliance with trust

David Horsager ( is the CEO of Trust Edge Leadership Institute in Minnesota and the Trust Expert in Residence at High Point University, High Point, North Carolina, USA. Teri Quimby ( is the president of Quimby Consulting Group LLC in Michigan, USA.

Effective compliance and ethics programs have become goals of companies and organizations worldwide. Reaching this objective is possible, but it cannot be achieved without a culture built on trust. Building it does not come from “one and done” webinars or trainings. It comes from doing the work—actively, consciously, and continuously. “Success at its core always comes as a benefit of being trusted.”[1] It’s easy to place blame for an ineffective program on issues related to leadership, communication, or resources, rather than looking at low-trust culture. Trust is the fundamental building block for success. High-trust culture leads to organizational success on many fronts, including compliance and ethics.

A few years ago, attorney Thomas Fox offered this observation: “It all starts with trust, but once you achieve trust, you can move forward to affect the change you need to generate to achieve an effective compliance program going forward.”[2] Without trust, implementation and maintenance of an effective program may be only a strategic idea without ability for execution.

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