What I Have Learned About Compliance from Living in the Ozarks


For the last two and half years my wife Ann and I have called The Lake of the Ozarks our home. We found an amazing property with a great deal of potential but requiring some significant work.  As we have toiled away on weekends in reclaiming an overgrown wooded property, killing weeds, attacking poison ivy, wiping out spider webs or hornets nests and scaring off snakes, ticks and scorpions back to the bottom less pit from which they originated from, I have had time to think about how some of these things apply to what I get paid to do during the week.


For the last 32 plus years I have been in the international moving business. The people in our unique industry are either born into the business or they ended up there by mistake. I fall into the second category but I love the work and the people. In the last several years the business has been complicated by the need to add some serous rigor to the security and compliance process. It’s critical that the big guys with boxes and trucks have background checks before showing up in the bedroom of an executive home to pack their underwear in every location on the planet, every international financial transaction has to be checked to make sure we don’t end up supporting a terrorist organizations indirectly and personal information of customers that have been entrusted with us stays under guard.

So what does the hot and humid climate of a wooded lake home in Missouri have to do with establishing security and compliance within a global moving business?

1.     Know that there is bad things out there. Since the fall of mankind there has been some nasty things out in the garden. For some reason our industry attracts salt of the earth kinds of people that serve and make the experience for our clients amazing but there are definitely others that exist on the other end of the spectrum to take for themselves. Takers create their own rules of integrity.

2.    Know that the bad things multiply when they are allowed to hide. Anything that operates in the dark doesn’t naturally get better by staying in the dark. The cob webs get bigger and the poison ivy growths thicker when left unchecked.

3.    Know that getting rid of the bad stuff takes effort and determination – The world is a big and complex place and some portions of it are used to operating where bribes became an accepted process, where documents are changed and honesty isn’t close to a policy of any sort. In these situations a battle plan that says, “not anymore and not ever again,” has to be clearly communicated and fought for.

4.    Know that you need professional help. I take an active participation in fighting back the bad things around our home but a professional needs to get on his hands and knees to apply agent-orange, napalm or whatever chemical necessary to kill whatever slithers and crawls in the nooks and crannies of the space under our home. The same is true in the world of compliance. Our industry in the past has been reliant on companies self-certifying that their crawl space is free of corruption but the technology and resources now exist for us to send in professionals to make certain that this is really the case.

There will always be things that slither and crawl in the dark places of this world. Light, however, will always expose things in the dark. When leaders are committed to fighting the darkness and bringing the right resources into play the light shines whether it is in the woods of the Ozarks or the practices of businesses across the globe.

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