FCPA: How Do You Change an Unhealthy Compliance Culture?

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What is a healthy culture and how do you change an unhealthy culture? I have always thought that baseball was a simple game: you throw the ball; you hit the ball; you catch the ball. I had also thought that you could measure whether a baseball team had a healthy culture with a fairly easy-to-understand metric; that being wins and losses. For example: the more wins that your team has the better it should be, conversely the more losses your team has the worse it should be viewed.

Based upon this fairly straightforward metric, I would have said that the Houston Astros did not play baseball very well in 2011, when they lost 106 games and won 56 games. I would have also said that they are an even worse team this year as they are on track to have an even shoddier season; their current trajectory is for 109 losses vs. 53 wins. All-in-all a pretty unhealthy baseball culture.

However, it turns out that my straightforward analysis of baseball culture is in fact too simple. As reported in the Houston Chronicle, team owner Jim Crane said “he believes sophisticated baseball fans are in tune with the team’s plans.” I would have thought that having not only the worst record in baseball and indeed the worst record in the history of the Houston franchise showed that the culture of baseball is not particularly good right now in Houston. However, it turns out that I simply have an “unsophisticated” view of how to approach the Astros culture and losing for the past three years and up to the next five years is the team’s culture plan. On a more positive note, in the same interview Crane said that the redesign of the Astros uniform that he has been so diligently working on has been submitted to Major League Baseball (MLB) for approval. So, if a winning baseball culture includes redesigned uniforms, it sounds like the Astros are the team for you ...

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