Blog header: How to strategically use our interview on what the DOJ looks for in training to change how your company does stuff.

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How to strategically use our interview on what the DOJ looks for in training to change how your company does stuff.

February 25, 2021 3:00:00 AM CST / by Ricardo Pellafone

So you report to an old-school compliance officer or general counsel—the kind who steadfastly believes that compliance training needs to be a series of formal courses about the law.

Not because that’s a good approach (it isn’t) or because the employees like it (they don’t), but because they think that’s what prosecutors look for—and to them, that’s the most important thing.

Now, if you’re reading this, you’ve probably already read our interview with the Department of Justice’s former compliance expert about what the DOJ looks for in compliance training. And so you know that your old-school leader is, to put it gently, totally 100% wrong—and going to be in for a very unpleasant surprise if and when your compliance training gets tested.

But knowing that is one thing; convincing your boss is another. In this post, we’ll explain how to do it.

Download the interview here!


How to convince your old-school boss.

First, here’s what NOT to do: don’t just forward it and ask them to read it. Congratulations, you just assigned your boss work. They will probably not read it at all, and if they do it’ll be in a fairly passive manner.

Why? Well, remember that the job of a CCO or General Counsel is almost entirely making decisions on things, because that’s what leaders do. To do this effectively, a leader needs to have a VERY high filter for information—or, put otherwise, they have to be really good at ignoring stuff that doesn’t seem that important.

That’s why you can’t just forward the entire interview without context. It’ll immediately go in the “maybe I’ll look at it later” pile in their brain and you’ll never hear about it again. Basically, this is the equivalent of what old-school compliance training does to employees: dump a ton of information on people and *hope* they do all the work of figuring out how it applies to them and what they’re supposed to do.

It doesn’t work there, and it won’t work to convince your boss, either. So, here’s what to do.

Pair a specific request with a supporting quote. You can use this interview to accomplish a lot of things in modernizing your compliance training, and you might be excited about multiple things at once. Totally fair, but that’s too much.

Pick one thing that you think is going to get traction with your boss (we’ve given some examples below). Then you’re going to send them an email that has:

* What you currently do
* What you think you need to do instead
* A quote from the interview
* The full interview as an attachment
* A request for a time to chat on next steps

This can be done in a few sentences. It’s classic sales email stuff, and that is the case because it works.

You are doing all the work of framing the issue for your boss, narrowing it to a single thing to be fixed and giving a concrete reason why the change needs to happen—which you are then backing up with authority that your boss cares about (since, if you’re using these templates, you’re working with an old-school boss who just wants to do whatever “the government” requires).

The interview is absolutely chock-full of brutal zingers, so you’re covered on the quotes, and attaching the full interview just backs it up in case your boss is skeptical. And if your boss does read the full interview, they’ll see all the other things that are covered—and that’s fine, because if they get interested in them at that point it’s their idea.

I know this is easier said than done, so let’s close this post with a couple sample templates you can use to get the ball rolling.


Sample templates

For when your boss insists all your training has to be a specific format, length, or some other arbitrary thing because they think you won’t get credit otherwise:


I know that right now we are focusing on having everything we do be an interactive video course in our LMS, but I wanted to flag that we should also make sure we have simpler materials that focus on what our businesspeople practically do—because that is what a prosecutor will expect to see.

Here’s a quote from an interview the Department of Justice’s former compliance counsel expert gave on this:

Simple solutions are better than complicated ones; a checklist that tackles a real-world business duty is more valuable than an elaborate interactive video course on an abstract concept.

I’m attaching the full interview for your convenience; that quote is from page 9.

I’d like to discuss some thoughts on how we could do this; can I put some time on your calendar?



For when you’re trying to keep it simple and your boss (or a subject-matter expert, or your training person) insists on doing school-style courses because they think that’s what the government wants to see:


Thanks for your comments, and I understand that you want to make sure everyone goes through a general anti-corruption course before we get into some of these more granular behavioral points. That said, I want to flag that this might go against what a prosecutor would expect to see.

Here’s a quote from an interview the Department of Justice’s former compliance counsel expert gave on this:

Q: What about areas that do not tie neatly to something a businessperson does—for example, how should a company talk about aspects of anti-corruption that don’t tie to some type of functional thing a businessperson does (like a course on general anti-corruption concepts)?

A: Look, a driver’s ed course typically does not include automobile design and mechanics: you are trying to teach people to drive, not build a car. Compliance training is the same: you are trying to teach people how to do business without violating the law, not become legal experts, even a little bit. Compliance is about behavior, so I’m not sure why you would be training on something that doesn’t tie to behavior. The goal is not to make every employee a compliance expert by talking about abstract concepts; the goal is to not break the law, and the law regulates behavior.

I’m attaching the full interview; that is on page 8.

I don’t think this is either/or, and I’d like to discuss some thoughts on how we could do this; can I put some time on your calendar?



Want to read more? Download the full interview here!

Collage of Hui Chen Interview

Download the interview here!

Ricardo Pellafone

Written by

Ricardo Pellafone

As Broadcat’s Founder and CEO, Ricardo is responsible for setting and obsessively refining Broadcat’s core methodology, approach, and vision of practical, useful compliance.