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Ethics and compliance programmes are fairly new in the corporate landscape and Murray Grainger thinks, still thinly staffed: “Lots of people don’t know they exist. You have to use innovative ways of getting people to know you’re there.”

But awareness is increasing and there are industry-wide initiatives and drives towards best practice. In Spain, where Murray bases himself, all companies are now required to have a compliance officer making them responsible and liable for failing to prevent misconduct.

Murray is founder and director of Impact On Integrity (IOI), an ethics and compliance leadership consultancy which focuses on advising on effective compliance programmes and training managers and organisations on a wide range of business integrity topics.

Using his MBA as a springboard to a new career

An experienced lawyer, Murray was head of ethics and compliance at Airbus after gaining his Global EMBA from the IESE Business School in Barcelona. He says his MBA was fundamental to starting his own business. “I was an successful legal specialist but I wanted to be doing more,” he says, “Without becoming an expert in any field the MBA gave me that knowledge and confidence to be able to take a general management approach.”

You need diversity in ethics and compliance, says Murray, and a good awareness of the business generally. At Airbus, he says they had a core team of about ten people and followed the classic “prevent, detect and respond” model: “Prevention is all about communications and training across the organisation, detecting is having alert systems (channels), responding is following up in a professional manner the concerns and alerts, all of which is very different to the training and role of a lawyer.”

Murray says he loved his work at Airbus: “It was tremendously exciting and very diverse. We’d get enquiries coming in from any function of the organisation; an operations query from the shop floor in China, someone dealing with customer relations in India, someone with a political relations question in Germany.” This, he says, “is where the MBA general management approach came in.”

Nonetheless, he left Airbus in 2013, with the confidence and external network to “take the step off the cliff and see where it took me.” It took him for a walk along the Thames where he came upon the name: “We were playing around with various combinations with words. we liked the idea of having three words in the name and we liked the fact that Impact on Integrity abbreviates to IOI, which is a palindrome and therefore hopefully quite memorable,” he says, adding, “The word integrity is a word we were very comfortable using as it relates to the services we provide which build on the ethics and compliance but we felt that is sufficiently broad that it covers everything.”

Creating scale

Like most business owners, Murray says the autonomy is great: “Not having to be in an office because your employer requires it until 6.30 on a Friday.” And the perils are the well-documented ones: “Waking up in the middle of the night worrying about cash flow and where the next clients are coming from.”

He realised that his time wasn’t scaleable so as well as the consulting, the company added training: “There is a lot of demand for training around business integrity and ethical leadership,” he says. IOI now works with partners on the development of tools around simplifying compliance challenges, including those of supply chain. The company has also developed a tool called The Moral Compass, an app which offers users a chance to run a dilemma they’re facing: “It doesn’t give you an answer,” says Murray, “but a series of reflection points. For organisations who aren’t, shall we say, characterised by a high level of transparency it does give employees greater confidence.” IOI is also distributor for the Integrity Healthcheck app and has developed the Global Business Ethics Challenge, a fast-paced and engaging simulation which tracks the impact of practical business decisions made as a team against the clock on ethics and compliance topics and business performance. It's this sort of "gamification" which helps to bring the topic to life across an organisation.

Practical and organic growth

MG photo IOI copyThe IOI staffing model is organic, with strategic partnerships with a small number of partners in New York, Switzerland, London, Paris and Spain. “People who can deliver the training on our brand and who I trust to deliver.” The company is completely self-funded with the aspiration to be self-sustaining: “We haven’t got enormous cash outflow and so far it has been manageable to account to internal investors.”

And for now the focus is on Europe. Murray says, “I was initially excited by conversations in India and West Africa but my fellow directors advised me to concentrate on real projects closer to home rather than conquer the world.”

Closer to home is a fast and loose term though and this month alone, Murray is travelling to Toulouse, Paris, London and Barcelona. Hope he knows where his passport is.


Favourite business book

“The Art of Possibility, Transforming Professional and Personal Life" by Benjamin and Rosamund Zander

"I call it ‘the yellow book’. I really like the yellow cover! It was one of the books I came across during my MBA which I connected with and inspired me. Zander is a conductor and teacher and business leader with a very can-do approach. It’s about managing people to their potential.”

Favourite motivational quote

“The perfect is the enemy of the good”

People are afraid to release a piece of work until it’s perfect. If something’s 60% good enough get it out, don’t try and perfect it. There does come a point when you’re so focused on the task in hand, you will miss other errors. Often people need superiors to sign off or someone else to be informed and this leads to a huge degree of inertia. Companies should empower people to make decisions.

Productivity tool

Asana (for workflow management)


Get in touch with Murray


Tweet: @impactintegrity

I really hope enjoyed the interview with Murray, whether you just read it here or listened to the podcast. If you have any thoughts or comments about this episode, please do share them with us on Twitter or Facebook – we’d love to hear from you!

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Thanks again to Murray for sharing his story with us.