“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” ~ Winston Churchill
These words will ring true until the end of time, as many believe that the true path to happiness is giving rather than taking. Strangely enough, giving can often be more challenging than taking as being self-serving and self-interested is the easy route to go through life, while attempting to make the world a better place can be more of a struggle than many are willing to face. In our current and modern world of business, an increased emphasis on the culture of an organization is continually highlighted. Both regulatory bodies and the public are increasingly trending towards the demand of corporate ethical practices and principles. This puts a unique and intense pressure on compliance professionals in nonprofit organizations world-wide as they must take responsibility to build controls and procedures that establish an authentically ethical organization that acts with integrity.
If you travel to Denmark, you’ll find that when you enter the subway system there are no turnstiles prohibiting your access to the platform prior to providing payment or taping your metro card. Why is this you might ask if you’re an urban native anywhere else in the world? No, public transportation isn’t free. Denmark has achieved something that is absolutely unthinkable to many parts of the world, a prime culture of trust – a phenomenon that residents of major urban centers such as New York, London, and San Francisco would find baffling. A culture of trust means that compliance and adherence to rules is so high that creating checkpoints and protocols to ensure trust are virtually unnecessary because all actors are complying.
Organizations need to be organizations of integrity. What we communicate to the world about our policies, compliance and ethics practices, values, code of conduct, regulatory commitments, and now ESG statements is a reality in the organization and not fiction. The Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer (CECO) has become the Chief Integrity Officer of the organization. Integrity is a mirror. What we tell the world what the organization is about, is that what is truly reflected back to us in our behavior and operations?