In only a few decades our digital world has pushed our decision making process to extremes. As information flows faster, it forces us to react faster and solve problems faster. We no longer have the luxury of “time to think.” One could argue that these uncertain economic times have increased that pressure exponentially.
People driven to accomplish a task and please superiors will sometimes bypass correct procedures to get the job done. In their minds, consequences are something to be dealt with later and hopefully they will be someone else’s problem. The flaw in that logic is that the consequences of bypassing information assurance procedures can result in serious breaches of AML and related regulations.
In previous ACAMS Connections Tool Kits, we have discussed the need for taking a little extra time in communicating in order to avoid errors and confusion that could result in a compliance-related oversight. Every day, compliance professionals face a similar challenge as they make decisions that walk the fine line between unacceptable risk and much needed revenue. When you add social engineering pressures brought on by peers and superiors, the decision making process gets even tougher.
Compliance activities are not the only workplace arena in which time pressures in the decision–making process can prove dangerous. Cyber security and information assurance (protecting data) are excellent examples. Cyber threats rely on the intended victim not taking the time to think before they follow a link in a suspicious email or download a file because they think it comes from a trustworthy source (more on this in the upcoming edition of ACAMS Today.) Much like money launderers hope that a convoluted layering scheme or small transactions that take time to trace will bypass the investigative efforts of AML and law enforcement professionals. Even on a personal level the pressures of time and the stress they cause can result in ongoing fatigue and ill health which will have a direct impact on anyone’s decision making process.
Have you realized that you are stressed out about time-related decision making yet? If so, the solution may be before you at this very second. If you have the time to read this article, then you have the time to use the greatest time-related stress-reduction tool available. That tool is the deep breath. The best time to use it is right after you have made a decision to do something major. This doesn’t mean you second guess yourself after every decision. It simply means to take a few seconds to determine if the decision you just made in your professional life was made for the right reasons and will it result in a positive outcome.
Eventually, time will be on our side. The human mind is quick to adapt. As we become more accustomed to technology driving our thought processes, we will eventually be able to process information more efficiently and make decisions faster. Until that time, we need to take those critical few seconds that often spell the difference between doing it right or doing it wrong. The bad guys are hoping that your stressed-filled, pressure-packed, resource-starved work environment will result in you making mistakes and letting them get away with something. Take a moment to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Have a compliance communication issue you want to address, or perhaps a best practice or war story of your own that you’d like to share with your fellow compliance professionals? Send it in to email@example.com. Our goal is to help everyone become better communicators. We’d love to have you contribute to this effort.