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Trust + compliance drive ethical leadership and a culture of integrity

Donna Boehme (dboehme@compliancestrategists.com) is Principal at Compliance Strategists in Providence, NJ.

Now that I’ve spent the past five years working with Barbara Brooks Kimmel’s stellar Trust Alliance and think tank, I’m more than convinced that trust, compliance, ethical leadership, and culturehave so many key principles in common, and that much is to be learned by sharing best practices among these disciplines. I have long believed in the power of ethical leadership to drive the “ripple effect” necessary to support a culture of integrity, as demonstrated by the example set by none other than Pope Francis (the “Humble Pope”). I’ve also written that chief compliance officers (CCOs) must embrace their roles as ethical leaders and of the crisis in ethical leadership we have seen in so many recent headline scandals.

From a scientific point of view, I can point to a six-month project at one of my early CCO roles, where we in Compliance spent hands-on time in an ethical leadership task force with top outside HR experts on a groundbreaking ethical leadership project. Aimed at linking 30% of bonus compensation to ethical leadership behaviors, the project was directed at supporting an effective compliance and ethics program and culture of integrity. During this time, we debated and labored over a list of seven leadership behaviors that we wanted to link into our overall performance management system with a view to driving key senior management behavior.

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