SCCE Podcast: Are We Playing Offense or Defense?

Dec 15, 2023

SCCE's Adam Turteltaub interviews L&E's Ronnie Feldman about how EC programs prioritize their time and resources. Are they focusing on OFFENSE (proactively trying to prevent problems) or DEFENSE (cleaning up messes). A shift in focus is necessary if we want to influence behaviors.
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Tom Fox

Ronnie Feldmen


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About This Episode


Ronnie was a guest on SCCE’s Compliance Perspectives Podcast, hosted by Adam Turteltaub.

Is your program spending your time and resources on OFFENSE (proactively trying to prevent problems) or DEFENSE (reacting and cleaning up messes). In this interview Ronnie recommends a shift in focus.


If you follow the money, most programs spend the bulk of their time and resources on things that have little to do with positively impacting behaviors. We establish and document policies that no one reads and then scold them for not knowing them. We spend tons on reporting metrics like acknowledgments and completion rates that are meant to cover our butts if/when we get in trouble, but do little to educate and influence. Plus we waste all that time tracking down those completion rates. The training most programs administer is long, boring and preachy which seeds the idea that it’s not important. To an employee, you’re just pushing liability onto them. This negatively impacts the influence of the EC department. Then we end up spending quite a bit on investigations because, you know, we’ve got a lot of messes to clean up. So the question is…are we really spending our time and resources on the right things? We seem to be playing more Defense than Offense.

If we want to play for offense, that is, spend more time on proactive, preventative things that positively impact behaviors. Then we need to focus our efforts on influencing the Social Environment and the Leadership Environment.


  • Promote speak up culture, speak up resources more frequently to create psychological safety.
    • Promote the helpful support system of people, policies & resources.
    • Increase nudges, reminders, comms & awareness about the support system.
    • Demystify the speak up process by telling stories and unpacking what the process looks like
    • Make sure the program and its people have the skillset to be helpful, welcoming and supportive. More principle based versus rules based. EC has to be seen as adding value, being helpful and supportive, as opposed to the Office of NO.
  • Entertainment helps. If your communications and training are shorter and have some entertainment value, you can communicate more frequently and embed these messages in more places without message fatigue. This means moving away from that bloated, boring training toward a higher cadence of communications and nudge learning that’s positive and helpful.


  • Spend training dollars educating and getting leadership on board at all levels. They have the biggest impact on the culture.
    • Add ethical leadership training to existing leadership training and to high potential programs. They need a regular cadence of reminders and reinforcements as well.
    • Create manager toolkits and provide these resources to leaders to make it simple and easy for them to carry these messages forward on behalf of the company
    • Provide short video content for leaders to play as commercials during regularly scheduled department meetings
  • Entertainment helps. If the programming is short and has some entertainment value, it has a better chance of impacting leadership. If the programming is short and fun, it will make them look good and therefore they will make you look good. Long and boring will get these messages ignored or they will deploy with an eye roll.


Remember, the DOJ wants us all to help prevent problems. If something bad happens, they’ll want you to tell them what you did to try and prevent the problem and why you thought it would help. So don’t start by thinking about the easiest things to track. Start by thinking about the things that are most likely to be effective and track those things. The OIG recently came out and said “alternative forms of educations count as training.”

  • Regular communications – newsletters, video shorts, commercials
    • Track click-through rates
    • Drive traffic to policies and track the increased awareness of policies
  • Regular surveys, disassociated from training, assessing trust in the speak up process and trust in organizational justice
  • Have leaders certify that they are including speak up messaging in regular meetings
  • Play speak up messages between speakers at sales and leadership meetings


  • We need EC to become a trusted, helpful supportive resource. We need to change the dynamic around what Speaking Up means. All of this moves the organization toward an environment of Psychological Safety. Current training and policy pushes undermine that. So train less, communicate more.
  • Spend training dollars on Educating and involving leaders and get them on board as your champions. Help them carry those messages forward. Get EC out of the EC ofFice.
  • Being fun, positive, interesting, entertaining with your training, comms, messaging, attitude…will increase the likelihood of success!

Ronnie Feldman is the President & Creative Director at Learnings & Entertainments, a learning content provider made up of comedians and entertainers with a focus on corporate risk.

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