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Compliance Anthems to Start Your Year With Inspiration - Compliance anthem of the week

Still need a morale boost to kick off your 2021 in high gear? Let’s rock.

We all know that compliance is everywhere – because the themes that it speaks to are not limited to the workplace. 2020 was the ultimate proof, as nations, organizations and families were all thrust into their own, independent laboratories of risk analysis, management and mitigation. It’s all enough to make you want to kick back and just crank some tunes.

Indeed, referring to a ‘compliance song’ or ‘compliance film’ is one of our favourite ways to unleash the inner ethical being inside of participants when we design workshops for organisations. When we can make some link between the familiar, comforting, and even inspiring entertainment people enjoy, and the challenges and rewards of ethical behaviour, suddenly we will find that the compliance mystery starts unravelling and people open up with their own compliance gems.

So, may we introduce to you - tunes to get the compliance brain cranking, songs touching on or celebrating the common themes of our professional lives, that are also (IOHO) just good music.

Welcome to the Training Hats Compliance Anthem of the Week.

In order to get your brains buzzing over with compliance tunes, we thought we’d start by sharing three prime examples. And then we’ll add a song to this playlist on a weekly basis..

Enjoy - and feel free to sing along.

Imagination is for us is one of the most important gifts we can give to our organisations and the world we live in. Our imaginations can lead to brilliance, to sharing gifts bigger than we could produce using only mere knowledge and allows us to dream and create new possibilities in a way that have never been done before.

The business school saw is that you can’t manage what you don’t measure, but you also can’t achieve what you don’t first stop to envision. So listen to John Lennon’s still-haunting ballad, the best-seller of his solo career, and ask yourself: are you prepared to fully imagine an organization where everyone does the right thing?

You may say I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one I hope some day you'll join us And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions I wonder if you can No need for greed or hunger A brotherhood of man Imagine all the people sharing all the world…

OK, well the corporations that host and feed so many of us may not really aspire to a world without possessions. But at the song’s most fundamental level, Lennon challenges the listener to imagine a world where there is none of the bad stuff and all of the good. You can ask people to imagine if there was no bribery and corruption to feed the greed and hunger, but you could also ask people to imagine an organisation, industry or even world where everyone played by the same ethical rules. What would we look like then? Imagine if everyone spoke the same language about compliance risk? Imagine that we were all working together to create a better universe through our actions and inactions, through our daily habits and through our general behaviours. Imagine if we all cared? Imagine if we all understood? The list is endless. But the song in itself stimulates discussion, thought and most importantly imagination.

In just a few short years, the optimism of Imagine and the peace movement were swallowed in a scepticism fed by cold reality and (as Jackson Browne put it) the “struggle for the legal tender.” It was in that light that Nick Lowe penned a power pop anthem to keeping the faith, popularized later that decade by Elvis Costello.

As I walk through This wicked world Searchin' for light in the darkness of insanity I ask myself Is all hope gone? Is there only pain, hatred, and misery?

The song had to make our list for several reasons. First, Costello’s blistering rendition on Armed Forces is just a stand-out rock performance. (And one of Jason’s lifetime musical thrills was hearing Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band cover the song in concert.)

But as compliance professionals, it’s all too easy for us to get caught up in skepticism and even belittlement. In that harsh light, Peace, Love and Understanding is the rebuttal we need as compliance and ethics leaders – a fundamental reminder of the core value of what we do, way beyond being there to check the boxes.

So where are the strong? And who are the trusted? And where is the harmony? Sweet harmony

Cause each time I feel it slippin' away It just makes me wanna cry What's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding?

So the next time you feel it slipping away, crank this one up, and fire yourself up to be one of the strong and the trusted.

If there was ever a song that spoke of Compliance and ethics, it is Green Day’s ‘Time of your life’. It speaks of lessons learned and forks in the road. As we know, a fork in the road is a metaphor for a deciding moment when a major choice is required. Can you imagine, the manager who is faced with getting the business at any cost (through indirect bribery and corruption) or not meeting targets and potentially making people in his team redundant? These are tough choices that people need to go through and understand that doing the right thing is not always easy, but it is always simple.

Another turning point A fork stuck in the road Time grabs you by the wrist Directs you where to go

So make the best of this test And don't ask why It's not a question But a lesson learned in time

It's something unpredictable But in the end it's right I hope you had the time of your life

A song for everyone

In the meantime, did we get you humming…? Go on admit it! Music raises our mood, peaks our excitement and enable us to experience the same emotions listening to a song that we actually experience in our lives.

We believe you can take just about any song and gain some compliance/ethics meaning from it. Whatever your genre, from Eminem to the Beatles to Soul icons such as Marvin Gaye – what’s going on? and Aretha Franklin – RESPECT, we can all find a song that speaks ethics and compliance to us and inspires action.

So, whether you are an Absolute (Compliance) Beginner on a Long and Winding Road or a seasoned compliance officer ‘When I’m 64’, we promise you that there is a compliance and ethics song for everyone. We’d love to hear yours. If you want to share your songs with us, head over to our Linkedin Page at

email us at or leave a contact card on this site.

We will be sharing all songs shared with our collaborators in our Compliance song list on our resources page at the end of this month.

Thanks for listening.

Nicole and Jason

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