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Nicole Rose: Here are the Top 5 songs about compliance

I recently realized how many songs have been written about compliance over the years. Here are my Top 5 that I believe can successfully accompany any compliance program.

At Number 5 we have the ultimate song for compliance culture change. When Michael Jackson sang about the “Man in the Mirror” he was, of course, asking that all people in an organization look in the mirror and change their ways. As Michael explained, “no message could have been any clearer if you wanna make the world (which I am sure he meant company and industry) a better place take a look at yourself, and then make a change.”

At Number 4, talking about saying no to bribery and corruption is Green Day, “Time of your life.” The lyrics were adapted a little in the released song as the original words were actually: “Bribery’s unpredictable, at no time is it right, Saying no leads to a prosperous work life.”

Then at Number 3, all about Conflicts of Interest, is Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn.” This song was almost certainly based on the story of an employee who doesn’t know whether or not to reveal to his employer that his brother in law is tendering for a contract he is a decision maker for.

At Number 2 the song about consequences is Abba’s “The Winner Takes it All.” Clearly when they sang “I don’t wanna talk about things we’ve gone through” they were referring to a bribery and corruption investigation. When they sang “Though it’s hurting me now it’s history I’ve played all my cards And that’s what you’ve done too Nothing more to say No more ace to play” they were talking about the losses suffered from the huge fines, legal fees and reputational disaster as a result of corruption allegations. And, of course, “the winners [who took] it all” were the lawyers and regulators.

And at Number 1, is Cyndy Lauper’s “Time After Time.” This song was actually about a company’s non-retaliation policy. When she sang “If you’re lost you can look and you will find me time after time If you fall I will catch you I’ll be waiting Time after time” she was really writing about a company supporting someone after reporting an incident using the whistle blowing hotline.

*     *     *

It doesn’t really matter what the song is or even what the real lyrics are. A little humor, some tongue in cheek and a bit of artistic license goes a long way to engage people.

The fastest way to change someone’s state is through music. The rhythm and pitch are managed in areas of the brain that deal with emotions and mood. Even the thought of a song is actually enough to stimulate the senses and ignite a positive response. For example, if I mention “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Rodgers & Hammerstein or “For once in my life” by Stevie Wonder, you’ll probably have it in your head for at least a few minutes.

Now then, think about this: Wouldn’t you want your employees to have compliance in their heads? Engaging people about compliance isn’t a one-off annual training event; it’s about delivering a constant message (or tune) regularly. I hope I’ve left you with some music to your compliance ears.

Thanks for listening.


Nicole Rose is CEO of Create Training. She’s a lawyer, trainer, writer and artist. Together with her team of animators and artists, Create Training has been making compliance training videos for learners around the world. It can customize training in any language and also has a collection of animated compliance training videos Follow her on Twitter @createtraining2. Contact her here.

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1 Comment

  1. You have created some compliance music in my ears and l hope to create same music in other ears too. Let the music continue to play till all concerned can sing the compliance song.

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