Learnings from #CW2017: How Front Line Leaders Can Build and Embed Trust

May 26, 2017 Marsha Ershaghi Hames

A company’s culture can dramatically impact an organization positively and sometimes negatively.  Building a healthy culture can impact the bottom line, but if not carefully sustained with guidance at the front line, it can go from good to bad overnight. Although, bad events can happen at good companies, the discussion centered around strategies to build and embed trust through greater transparency and accountability through front line leaders. This week, I was honored to collaborate with an engaging panel on The Art of Culture at Compliance Week 2017 #CW2017. Our speakers came from a range of diverse industries, each conveying how  important it is for the whole organization to be responsible for driving a culture of integrity.

Tim Bogan, the Chief Risk Officer and Chief Compliance Officer of Lending Club, shared how  critical it was to enhance and communicate to stakeholders internally and externally sometimes the uncomfortable topics set the foundation for them to drive resource realignment for greater accountability. Promoting responsibility for culture across the organization, and leading through values-based decision making has built a stronger foundation. Cindy Yanasak, Compliance & Ethics Program Manager at Progressive Insurance, shared how  they creatively conversationalize their Code, leveraging the experiential learning methodology, placing leaders at the forefront of the conversation. Progressive hosts an Art Show that provokes healthy ethical debate intellectually and emotionally, is a reflection of their cultural DNA and the art is a springboard for exploring their Core Values. 

Sharon Thyme Klinger, Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer and Head of Litigation at Novartis, provided a lens into the multinational dynamics of one of the world’s leading healthcare companies.  Given their expansive footprint across 160 countries with 123,000 employees it was critical to anchor their culture around their revised set of six Values and Behaviors. Further, Sharon has led the efforts to embed culture into their key processes and activities such as business review and performance management processes. Novartis has launched a creative storytelling campaign called “Integrity In Your Own Words” where associates are invited to share personal stories highlighting what integrity means to them. By capturing narratives in an authentic way, its inspiring other to lean in and share.

Cultural transformations can take time and require the critical intervention of leader modeling accountability and owning the tone, but integrity and compliance must be driven across the whole of the organization from the top down and the bottom up. 


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