Perspective Matters – A Gentle Slope Or A Steep Uphill Climb

Adam Balfour

by Adam Balfour

The early morning hours of summer are the perfect time of day for me to walk around the small park by our house here in Nashville. It is a great way to start the day and enjoy the outdoors so close to home as the sun rises and before the summer temperatures get too high.

The park has a short path that goes around and through the park. I like to mix up which direction I walk if I have time to do more than one loop of the park. What I find interesting is that what feels like a gentle and barely noticeable slope in one direction can feel like an uphill effort when travelled from the opposite direction. Perspective matters and changes how we experience the same thing.

Perspective also matters when it comes to ethics and compliance. We, in ethics and compliance, might introduce what seems from our perspective to be simple and barely noticeable requirements (such as policies, controls or procedures) that will make our jobs easier and improve the ethics and compliance program. We are at the top of the hill (especially if we are in the headquarters) – from our perspective, the requirement involves little effort and is not a burden. Our colleagues in other parts of the organization might be looking at the same requirement or change we have introduced, but they see the uphill effort it will require of them. At other times, our colleagues in other parts of the organization might think that rolling out a new learning program, writing a new policy or running a program require little effort. From their perspective, they might not see the uphill challenges that we face in designing, building, running and testing our programs, or understand why we feel additional resources and support are needed.

Perspectives impact the way we see and experience things. When rolling out new initiatives or changes to our ethics and compliance programs, we have to make sure that we think about the perspective of others and where those different perspectives are on the metaphorical hill. Having good relationships with people across the organization can help, as can rotating people from compliance into other parts of the organization and finding ways to engage people in other parts of the organization to see and experience elements of the compliance program.

Challenging, and perhaps changing, our perspectives does not mean that the hills are less steep or challenging, but it can help us see why easy or hard things from one perspective can be seen and experienced very differently from another.

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Adam Balfour