Jim Nortz

Founder & President at Axiom Compliance & Ethics Solutions, LLC

My Articles

The Shareholder Primacy Myth and Deflected Moral Compasses

The shareholder primacy myth is deeply entrenched in the business community and is very difficult to counter, especially when variable compensation is tied to achieving specified, short-term financial goals. But, if you succeed in at least raising awareness about how the shareholder primacy myth deflects moral compasses, you might help your leaders set a better course in the future.

The Corporate Governance Crisis

This is a crisis in corporate governance. If not remedied, we will see no end of significant corporate scandals, and the next one could involve your employer. To turn things around, we cannot wait for additional governmental regulation. Our best hope of improving corporate governance is for us — corporate counsel and compliance and ethics professionals — to work together with our executive leadership teams to both educate our directors and get them in the game.

The Compliance and Ethics Movement Remembers a Founding Father

In 2008, I had the pleasure of interviewing Hoffman while he was visiting Rochester, New York. I asked him about the early days of the business ethics movement and his assessment of the impact that the compliance and ethics profession has had on the business community. After learning of his passing, I retrieved my notes from that interview, which are partially reproduced in this article.

Promoting Ethical Excellence

It is hard to find evidence that corporate compliance and ethics professionals and corporate counsel are having a measurable positive impact on performance. Although we have produced policies, procedures, controls, and training programs by the truckload, we have failed to reduce criminal misconduct in the corporations we serve. A change in tactics and focus is required to achieve a different result.

Taming the Tyranny of Metrics

Despite their possible shortcomings, performance metrics — including profit and loss — are vital to helping businesses track and report results to shareholders. The question is, how can we craft meaningful performance metrics that incentivize desirable behaviors while avoiding potential negative consequences?

A Primer on How to Thrive in the Corporate “Oven”

Internal politics, pressures to perform, unreasonable colleagues and bosses, vexing emails and voicemails, international travel, heavy workloads, long hours, and just plain nasty people often create a work environment that is difficult to bear. Numerous studies have shown that the unrelenting stress associated with office life not only causes significant misery, but it also leads to chronic health problems.

Teach Your Corporate Pilots to Fly Straight

Like modern aircraft, businesses have a level of complexity that exceed any one person’s ability to manage without well-designed procedures to check the status and performance of critical systems. This is especially true for multinational corporations that must find a way, every day, to navigate a hazardous and byzantine legal landscape.

The Six Essential Elements of an Effective Anticorruption Compliance Program

As governments around the world enact and enforce ever stricter anticorruption laws, the need to effectively manage sales intermediary corruption risks has become more important than ever. Although it is impossible to eliminate such risks, you can reduce them by implementing the following six essential elements of an effective sales intermediary anticorruption compliance program (ACP).

Lessons from Susie and Celeste’s Most Excellent Adventure

Susie and Celeste’s most excellent adventure reminds me of the perils of taking a job with a new company. Once you get on the “boat” and it pulls away from the “dock,” you may be disappointed to find out that your new work colleagues are dancing to a tune that is not to your liking. Your boss, your colleagues, your job responsibilities, and the company’s culture might be at variance with your expectations.