Compliance as a group-wide uniform framework for the company

“It’s not about running up against a wall, but rather about searching for the door with your eyes”. (Werner von Siemens)

There is much truth in this sentence by Siemens. An analyst would extract the meaning from this sentence in the following way: I have a target (something located behind the wall). I have a problem (the wall). I select a method (running up against the wall). I look for an alternative (the door). For this purpose, I require an alternative method (searching for the door with my eyes). It may be possible to break down the wall by running up against it, but it is highly probable that the pain levels resulting are more intense than if I just walk through the opened door.   

And yet what does this sentence have to do with compliance? One important matter for the group-wide training series in the Compliance Division, in which just under 300 employees in 7 companies have received training until now, was, amongst other things, to show that compliance is not just about adhering to regulations. It is also about the uniform determination of which means (or methods) we should use in order to achieve our targets. To return to the visual imagery: it many take time and effort to first search for the door with our eyes, but it preserves us from the lasting damages caused by trying to take the direct route through the wall. Not to speak of the subsequent damages regarding the necessary rebuilding of the wall. Prevention is the key word here.

A further issue addressed in the training series was also to emphasise that the wheel was not reinvented with the introduction of a Compliance Management System. We already undertake a lot of compliance management tasks without explicitly calling it that. However, the introduction of a system provides the various approaches within the company with a standardised structure. Standardised means here that a central contact is appointed for compliance questions across the entire group of companies. Standardised also means that the framework of what is permitted is identical for every member of the company. Depicted in our visual imagery: The door is located in the same place on the wall for everyone. In addition, a structural and systematic approach to the subject of compliance fulfils the requirements which are demanded daily of the company.

With this in mind, always keep using your eyes to search for doors before head-butting the wall!