Are you wondering if you're cut out to be a consultant or an auditor?
Do you think you need to be this untouchable person to do this job?
It takes many types of people to be a consultant or an auditor, however, I think the common misconception about auditors and consultants is that we are these untouchable people that are sitting up on a pedestal.
I’d hate to burst your bubble, but we are not who you think we are. We are normal people just like me. Well, some people would question whether I'm normal, but that is the honest truth!
Honestly, we are no different from anyone else. I want to highlight that you don't have to have to be this ‘special’ person. It's not this special untouchable sort of limit or goal that you can't reach.
I used to think the same thing. When I first started to work for myself many years ago, I thought that there was no way I could be an auditor or a consultant. But obviously, I am here now!
The most productive auditors and consultants that I know and the most sought after are not necessarily the most technical in their field, they are the nice, genuine people out there. Of course, you need to have the competency and technical skills to do what we do. However, it isn’t the ONLY thing or the most important for that matter.
What is the most important personal behaviour to have?
The most important personal behaviour to have is that you can make people feel comfortable. You want people to feel comfortable around you. You want people to welcome you into their business, and you want people to share their businesses and their systems with you.
We shouldn't come in like the quality police and point fingers at people. It's about just being a genuine, pleasant person. It’s really about just having a conversation with them. Have a laugh – I love having a laugh on the job! We would go insane if we didn't have a laugh. It has to be enjoyable for both our clients and ourselves.
Another great tip is to ensure that you go in and make people feel comfortable. Don’t be afraid to chat about the small stuff first, see what they were up to on the weekend. I always try to remember a bit about their family and about their kids. You know - what they told me last year at the last audit. This could be that they bought their son a car and I always ask, well, how's, how's he going with his, his car and his new job? Or how was your holiday? So trying to show that you were actually listening and were interested.
This actually develops the relationship further and I know it’s not a friendship or a personal relationship that we are looking for, but it's about demonstrating that you are actually listening to them and you actually do have an interest in them, not only their system.
Understanding what their interests are, and what's important to them helps with the whole process. What's important to them, how they operate, how their minds work, how their brains think. It is really important to drop all of that technical stiff stuff.
Please just be a normal, genuine person.
The personal behaviours that the Standards come up with for us are even ‘stiff’ so let’s come up with some of our own.
Show that you are interested and be present and listen. Reflect on your understanding, as well as demonstrating that you were listening.
It’s not hard to be pleasant, is it? Being courteous and respectful will go a long way.
Take on board what they are sharing with you. Show that you understand and can relate to the challenges that they might be sharing.
Open, Transparent and Clear –
There’s three that I always put together as they really do work together. This can mean as you are coming across any issues or anything you'd like to discuss or get further information on you’re addressing it at the time.
This leads to transparency and not holding onto anything until the end of the audit or end of the day. You are explaining it ‘out loud’ as it is happening which is clear.
It's not this secret business that you're up to. It's all about having a discussion or conversation – it’s that simple. Honestly, that's what you're doing either as a consultant, when you're reviewing a system and helping a business develop, or as an auditor.
As I mentioned earlier, we are not there to be the quality police and point fingers. It's a collaborative approach, so you're there to help the busines, develop a system, develop a productive system and efficient system and agile system. You have common goals.
You can do this!
You are good enough to be an auditor!
You are good enough to be a consultant!
Go and get your technical knowledge up to scratch, understand the standards or whatever your criteria is that your auditing against. Most of all pull out your personality or get a personality. Pull that personality out and get off your high horse.
Get off your little power play and come down to the level of the people that you are working with. You will make the best auditors or consultants – I’ve seen it!
Jackie is a Founding Director of Auditor Training Online. She loves to help others and share her excitement about auditing, consulting and management systems bringing to you her own experience and stories as a certification auditor.