Work to make yourself redundant

By: Auditor Training Online | Posted 15 Mar 2019

The best piece of advice I ever received was ‘work to make yourself redundant’. Most people have trouble getting their head around this statement. It’s not about putting yourself out of a job it’s about all the best practices in having a successful business such as business continuity, role sharing, scaling, effective training and the list goes on.

It’s not just about the business though, there are personal benefits also.  Your job is less stressful; your holidays\annual leave is less likely to be interrupted if things go wrong.  You can also be relieved from the drudgery of your job to focus on areas that value-add instead.

Importantly if you can bring all of this to a business, you are significantly increasing your value to the business you are currently working in, as well as the next business you work for! 

As I always do, I look for alignment with every-day activities to an ISO Standard clause.  When clause 7.1.6 Organizational knowledge was introduced into ISO 9001:2015 I instantly thought of ‘work to make yourself redundant’.

The opening sentences of this clause state:

The organization shall determine the knowledge necessary for the operation of its processes and to achieve conformity of products and services.  This knowledge shall be maintained and be made available to the extent necessary.

The words that stand out to me here are ‘shall be maintained and be made available’ – this is talking about the knowledge being maintained and made available.  This is ensuring that knowledge that is ‘owned’ by certain workers in certain roles (normally gained by experience) make this available to other workers and ensure that the knowledge passed on is maintained.  Additionally, this knowledge is normally the information that is difficult to document as it is tacit knowledge gained from experience.  I absolutely love this!

It is up to the organization as to how they make this knowledge available and clause 7.1.6 includes some internal sources such as intellectual property, knowledge gained from experience, lessons learned from failures and successful projects, capturing and sharing undocumented knowledge and experience, the results of improvements in processes, products and services.  Some external sources are also included such as Standards, academia, conferences, gathering knowledge from customers or external providers.