COIs: Common & Complex

Today I am hosting a call during which I will be discussing conflict of interest (COIs) situations with my team.

COIs are very common in organizations. Every employee is likely to face one. Some employees fall in love with a colleague, some need a second employment, others might have a financial interest in a customer or received a gift from a supplier.

Being common doesn’t make COIs easier to resolve. While there are similarities between COIs, each is unique to the persons involved. It might be fine for Employee A to receive a gift from Supplier B, and completely inappropriate for Employee C to receive the same gift from the same supplier. My standard response to an employee who calls me and asks “Do you have 5 minutes for a quick COI check?” is “Do you have 30?” I know from experience that I will need to ask her several questions and consider not only the likelihood of a true conflict but also even the appearance thereof. Both should be avoided.

So naturally, E&C professionals find it difficult to resolve COIs. The best way to get better at it is to do it often. Which is why I am hosting this call. Over 160 of my team members have signed up. Our plan is to repeat this exercise every month.

What’s another topic that keeps ECOs awake at night? Let me know in the comments below. Thank you!

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