In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

How to Address Culture and Corporate Compliance

It's a delicate thing to tell someone he's overweight -- especially if it's your boss.

But if you really care about that person -- like you don't want him to get heart disease, diabetes, or a stroke -- you have to get him away from the McNuggets. At least take him to the salad bar.

That's how it is when you are general counsel and you have to tell the chief executive officer to really change corporate culture. It's not just a cosmetic thing; it's about compliance.

Bloated Corporate Culture

Sometimes, companies get too fat. They get comfortable with bad habits, and it gets out of control.

That happened at Uber. The company got ridiculously successful, all the while ignoring its toxic corporate culture.

The company didn't die, but the board kicked out the chief executive officer and began a do-over on its sexual harassment policy. That is one area where corporate culture needs to change in many companies -- starting with the C-Suite.

"As part of its oversight and monitoring responsibilities, the board has to hold the CEO, senior management, and the CCO to the same standard -- what communications activities and conduct they plan to perform to further the company's culture and its values," says Michael Volkov, a lawyer who writes about corporate compliance.

Corporate Culture Garden

So what if you're not fat? Corporate culture doesn't have to be ugly to get a make-over.

Many healthy companies are going green, developing a culture of sustainability. Going paperless, recycling, re-evaluating the carbon footprint; it's not like a fad diet. It's being environmentally responsible, and that has long-term benefits.

"If you can clearly show direct financial savings, any company is likely to look at making some renovations, particularly if the company is committed to, or owns, a brick and mortar space," writes FindLaw's George Khoury.

Why, you could even compost shredded documents and start a company garden. Getting the CEO to have lunch there might be asking too much, however.

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