Build Influence with a Friends of Compliance (FOC) Network

compliance network

We have been recently reminded of the power and influence of social networking with Facebook data breach investigations.  The Harvard Business Review also recently published an interesting article about how to balance the benefits and downside of workplace friendships.

Social networking for Compliance Officers (COs) is key to building their influence — the influence that’s needed to deliver results in their high-performing jobs. In a given day COs can be client-focused helping a business onboard new customers and products, but they may also need to serve as gatekeeper helping resolve a compliance gap or data breach.  A network of colleagues, what I call friends of compliance (FOCs) help COs manage conflicts interests and demands on their time. FOCs help Compliance issue spot, rank risks, understand industry trends and prepare for training and presentations.

What is a Friends of Compliance Network and Why Have One?

A FOC network is an interconnected group of people in various positions within the company who help the CO run a successful Compliance program and stay ahead of developing problems.

FOCs help the CO in a number of ways. They provide diverse perspectives, as each person has different information and experience within the organization  They help identify issues before they become large problems by pointing out anomalies and red flags. FOCs provide constructive feedback on the CO’s work and ideas helping the CO deliver a more impactful compliance program.

How to Build a Friends of Compliance Network

 Social-exchange theory shows that through a series of interactions over time, employees develop trust and interdependence on one another. COs can leverage these relationships to build their FOC network. This is the essence of the how: building relationships over time. There’s no secret to it other than to be consistent and authentic. Not only will this help develop FOCs, it will also help develop relationships within the organization.

At the heart of these relationships is the exchange of mutually beneficial information. To run a successful Compliance program, the CO needs to have people who share information with them, and social-exchange theory says this happens when the CO shares in return.

Though ideally, COs have individuals throughout the organization in their network, one place to look for FOCs is the legal department. The legal department is a powerful, respected, and informed part of the organization and a great building block for a FOC network.

 A Secret Weapon

An FOC is the CO’s secret weapon, helping the CO’s mission of Compliance and also building their reputation within the company. COs who commit to developing an FOC network enjoy more influence and more camaraderie to boot.


For more ideas about how to build influence, take a look inside my book.