Are you on the same team?

Trust but verify.

This is the role of many governmental agencies. They provide oversight of industries that promise to make life better – with associated risks.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is one such agency. Before approving a life-saving drug, it requires pharmaceutical companies to submit data on its effectiveness and safety. Some companies, like Novartis recently, choose to hide relevant data to improve their chances of FDA approval.

I bet that some people at Novartis don’t think that the FDA is on their team. They don’t believe that both organizations are in the business of delivering safe drugs to the public. This is true of other regulated industries, where the regulator is seen as a foe, not a friend. Think of Volkswagen and the EPA.

The same dynamic is often found inside a company. We see it between the sales function and the control functions, or between the business units and the corporate headquarters. One group feels unjustly restricted by the other and tries to evade the controls. Many readers of this blog are in the E&C function and they know what I am talking about.

What is the culture at your organization? Are the control functions considered to be part of the team? If not, this should be your first priority.

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