Sadly my schedule was crammed, but some of my lucky colleagues attended Compliance Week 2012 and had great things to say. One of the highlights was the keynote address by Procter & Gamble CEO Bob McDonald, who shared his thoughts on what leadership means to his company in terms of ethics and compliance. Of course, one of the great debates happening right now is who “owns” compliance and to whom should the CCO report.
We’ve had a lot of discussion about this on our blogs, with our customers and with our own employees. P&G takes a shared approach, and as Bob says, “Tone-from-the top is really critical, in my opinion, and it starts with me as the CEO,” he said. “That’s why when I became CEO, I decided to chair our ethics and compliance committee…. In essence, I am our chief compliance officer.”
I can’t agree more with Bob – tone from the top means tone from the top… not tone near the top – so I fully embrace that he is intent on baking compliance solutions in at the CEO level. Because P&G’s compliance program is tied into the company’s purpose, values and principles, they are able to truly embed ethics and compliance solutions into the company’s DNA. So it’s walking the walk, not just talking the talk.
Something else I found fascinating: P&G is screening their job applicants for ethical tendencies via a online “reasoning test,” a leadership questionnaire around ethics matters. According to Bob, “The percentage of people who get tripped up on ethics and compliance is quite high.” Those few who get through that screen are then interviewed on their own purpose, values and principles. And of course, P&G continually trains all of their employees on crucial topics. This is key to protect a brand and company as large and impactful as P&G.
What do you think? Who chairs your compliance committee? Would you consider screening applicants for ethics and compliance measures?