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Risk management starts with the employees

Paul H. Zietsman ( is a Dubai-based compliance leader and business partner, assisting with the establishment of compliance programs for multinational organizations.

Speak to any seasoned compliance professional, and they will tell you that everything pivots around risk. Risk is the starting point, the end point, and the single biggest thing that you must always keep your eye on if you want to be successful in compliance.

This kind of thinking belongs in a museum. If compliance professionals would just look over the fence to their colleagues on the business side, they would realize that the graveyard of corporate obsoleteness is filled with iconic corporations that made the same mistake: They were so fixated on their products’ quality and prices that they completely forgot about their customers’ needs and wants.

Likewise, since risk is viewed as the alpha and the omega, compliance professionals are in the business of selling risk management tools and services. But if there is no buy-in from the employees, risk management will also be relegated to the graveyard of outdated and obsolete ideas. That is why everything should start with the “compliance customer” and not with risk.

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