For all the work and time and dollars expended, when was the last time you saw a Code course that really made you say, “Wow.”
The idea is to step back from the way things are currently done, revisit the original problem to be solved, and ask: What’s really going on here? If I want a certain outcome, what’s really needed? What’s possible?
The power of first-principle thinking is that it lets you step away from all of the current, accepted solutions — along with all the outdated assumptions or original technological limitations that those solutions were based on.
The classic Elon Musk example is his founding of SpaceX. According to James Clear, Elon Musk wanted to explore Mars. But when he tried to buy a rocket, he discovered they were out of reach, even with his PayPal millions — at up to $65 million each.
So he decided to rethink the plan. Buying a rocket was prohibitively expensive. What about building one? Turns out the cost of materials needed to make a rocket were only about 2% of the rocket’s purchase price.
Suddenly, Musk had identified a huge market opportunity. Instead of buying a rocket, what if he put his PayPal money towards buying raw materials and making rockets? Assuming his team could master rocket technology, he could then sell rockets at a price that would seriously challenge the existing aerospace industry — and use the money to fund his dreams of colonizing Mars.
By ignoring current practice and going back to the original problem, he overcame the blind spots of an entire industry. Why did rockets cost so much? Because that’s what rockets cost. But what if they didn’t? Today, SpaceX offers rockets that are one-tenth the cost of competitors — and still makes a profit.
Elon Musk didn’t set out to start a rocket company. He set out to go to Mars. Founding a rocket company was just the best way to get there.
So what do rockets have to do with compliance training?
Our industry is about 20 years old, and a number of our assumptions and time-tested solutions are due for a rethink. In many cases, “standard practice” reflects old 2005-era technological limitations and assumptions that we don’t even realize we’re still bringing forward.
For instance, take the Code of Conduct course -- the centerpiece of most compliance training programs.
Our industry is about 20 years old, and a number of our assumptions and time-tested solutions are due for a rethink.
A Code course is typically:
At most companies, the Code of Conduct training has widest reach and greatest number of translations of ANY piece of training inside a company. It’s highly visible (often featuring a message from the CEO), and compliance teams work hard to get the content just right.
It’s also usually the single most customized course in a compliance program. Just as Codes have become branded documents, Code courses are expected to reflect a company’s brand, voice, risk concerns and culture.
That said, for all the work and time and dollars expended, when was the last time you saw a Code course that really made you say, “Wow.” Or, put another way, when was the last time you felt really proud of your Code training?
It’s worth stepping back and asking: What is the purpose of a Code course?
Forget current practice — usually an intro with a CEO message, plus three to six topic-based lessons that get switched out year on year. That’s a 2003 vendor-driven answer to how clients can roll a “new” course each year, one that reflects the limitations of early course-authoring software, when edits were expensive and time-consuming (especially if you were translating into many languages) and there were a limited number of course formats to pick from. It also reflects a time when Codes were long, boring, legalistic documents that were hard to read or reference and needed to be “brought to life” through training.
Let’s look at things from the perspective of 2019. What is a Code course trying to do? What is it supposed to accomplish?
To my mind, the Code course has five key purposes:
The standard Code course is one way to do this, but it’s not the only way, and the existing way has been overused.
What if instead, your Code course was:
For your company, for your Code: What’s the goal?
Do you need one course or more than one? Does a new hire need the same message as an employee who’s gotten annual Code training for the last 10 years?
Start by asking yourself:
The possibilities don’t stop there, and you don’t need to figure it all out on your own. If you need help brainstorming, feel free to give us a call. We’d be happy to have a no-strings-attached conversation.
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