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Learning Pool Live Virtual: Key Takeaways

Written by Learning Pool CCO, Harper Wells

As we have some time and space from an incredible two days at Learning Pool Live Virtual, I am filled with renewed excitement for our ethics and compliance community. We had an incredible lineup of speakers who shared best practices and practical approaches–and our community showed up and was engaged and ready to drive positive change throughout their organizations!

This year’s conference focused on three themes: 

  •  The human element;
  •  The continued evolution of intelligence; and
  •  The influence technology is having on our lives.

When we think about the human element in our organizations from a compliance risk perspective, we understand that every risk is driven by people–individuals with their own beliefs, experiences, and knowledge. While this is certainly still true and our daily work lives are filled with risk mitigation (while simultaneously working to build culture), it’s important for us to acknowledge that the mind share of our employees is very distracted right now.

We are more stressed than ever. As I write this, there are multiple armed conflicts happening around the world, there’s vast political polarization and continued concern for the mental health and well-being of those around us both personally and professionally. 

And it seems it’s only dialing up.

That’s why we need to lean on artificial intelligence and technology that much more. Because just trusting the goodwill of people to do the right thing is not a good program strategy. It’s not that people don’t want to do the right thing, it’s just that when our brains are thinly pulled in multiple directions, we’re more likely to make mistakes. This is where intelligence and technology can help us be more proactive and predictive. And that’s what makes this intersection that much more important.

In fact, the definition of data itself is changing for all of us. It’s no longer about having a helpline or digital conflicts of interest disclosure; that’s our grandmother’s tech at this point. Tech is actually becoming more about personalization and artificial intelligence; technologies that are more about augmentation, not just efficiency. 

A few takeaways

I can’t thank the speakers enough who spoke at this year’s conference: Ben Betts, Neha Gupta, Christian Hunt, Andrea Jones-Rooy, Kevin Macnish, Nicole McRae, Karla Medina, Courtney Sander, Mary Shirley, Rebeka Spires, Kristin Watts, and Funmi Wendel

I managed to fill my notebook with a bunch of great nuggets and helpful reminders. Here are just a few takeaways from my transcribed scribble: 

  • If we want to be a strategic business partner, we need to meet people at their tables, rather than muscle them to ours. 

This nugget comes courtesy of Karla Medina. Karla developed her organization’s Anti-Corruption Compliance program from the ground up. She described needing to create partnerships, gain trust and buy-in, and build a culture of transparency. What she didn’t do was sit at headquarters and invite everyone to come to her. Instead, she got out from behind her desk and went to the tables of everyone she needed to make the program successful. There’s a big difference between the two approaches and they can have a radical impact on the outcomes we’re looking to achieve.    

  • Slow down and take a look at your data from different lenses. Context is key!

Both our keynotes shared some incredible food-for-thought here. 

The always entertaining Christian Hunt gave an incredibly insightful keynote, where he dove into a common pitfall: failing to contextualize data. Christian showed us some real-life visual examples on how human behavior can lead us down the wrong path, both literally and figuratively. While we need to be evaluating data sources at our organizations (yep, says the DOJ), we need to understand how to parse signal from noise and relay unbiased information that has been thoroughly evaluated and contextualized.

And the hysterical social scientist, comedian, and circus performer (yes, you heard that right), Andrea Jones-Rooy, broke down how us non-data scientists can evaluate quantitative and qualitative data sources methodically to find truths in our data. This included engaging with others across your organization to understand the tools and resources you need, getting creative to develop your hypotheses to get to the root cause of “Issue X,” and working together on interdisciplinary teams to support and validate your initiatives. 

  • Understanding the human element helps our trek towards the ethics & compliance mountain top.

Several presenters, like Mary Shirley, Courtney Sander, and Rebeka Spires, helped us to put the human element into perspective. From understanding why our best employees may not speak up, leading with compassion in compliance, or creating a culture of integrity, these leaders showed us why reaching out to our employees where they are and creating a more psychologically safe workplace for everyone hones more effective compliance programs.

Some questions to ask yourself

As we wrapped Day 2 of the conference, I challenged attendees to ask themselves these questions, thinking through how to first acknowledge and then action their responses. That is: 

  • What intelligence aren’t you tapping into, and why? Are you avoiding the data because you’re not comfortable with it, or because of its potential consequences? Or are those just in our head?
  • Are you collecting behavioral insights and contextualizing it to adequately and meaningfully remediate your employees and drive a culture of compliance?
  • On your tech journey, what have you deployed that actually takes you from theater to action? Is it really working for your needs?
  • And lastly, when you think about your organization today, what assumptions have you made about human risk that have actually been corroborated? Or are you just working on empty assumptions?

When we think about parsing signals from noise, hopefully, we’ve inspired you to take the next step, no matter how small it is. 

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