A new definition of compliance professional

These are my reading notes and thoughts on the book titled Influence by Robert Cialdini.


I did not expect the first paragraph of this book to stop me in my tracks but it did. After admitting that he is an easy prey for people selling magazine subscriptions and raising money for charities, the author writes this about compliance:

Probably this long-standing status as sucker accounts for my interest in the study of compliance: Just what are the factors that cause one person to say yes to another person?

In my 13 years in the E&C sphere, I had never thought of compliance as a process leading others to say yes to me. Compliance had always been about the question “Can I?”, while ethics was about the question “Should I?”. Compliance was about the law, about the rules. I had always looked at compliance from the perspective of the one being ruled – the employees ruled by the company, itself ruled by the regulators. Cialdini, it seems, is approaching compliance from the perspective of the ruler.

This mindshift comes on the heels of another concept I heard for the first time recently: most compliance failures do not result from a lack of awareness or understanding but from others not believing what we – the compliance officers – believe.

Put together, these two notions suggest that a successful compliance officer is one who, using the influence principles, communicates her beliefs in such a way that causes others to say yes the compliance program.

Imagine organizations where E&C professionals possess such skills.

This approach to E&C is interesting, to say the least.

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