Compliance is a moving target in health care, shifting constantly because of new laws, regulations, ethical considerations, and technologies. Chief compliance officers (CCO) are forced to keep pace, and those who take the job need to be a touch general manager, a bit general counsel, have the eye for detail of an auditor, and the communication skills of a politician.

What they don’t need is their reputation as “the compliance police.” In a survey of one-hundred executives on the front lines of compliance, Korn/Ferry found CCOs chafing at that misperception. While keeping up with regulatory changes in health care was a leading challenge (37 percent put it in their top three), it was topped by dealing with internal politics (48 percent). Instead of being the person who catches mistakes, CCOs want to be seen as the people who can proactively create solutions.

The white paper also outlines how this new executive role is still evolving. While about 55 percent of health care CCOs worked in the legal function previously, the remainder came from consulting, medicine, and finance/audit. There is no one path to the CCO's office.

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