Managing Auditor Competency

In December 2017, the volunteers of the Chartered Quality Institute arranged the last event of the year for the Quality Professionals. The topic was a great way to end the year and allow time for professionals to reflect: “Managing Auditor Competency”. The guest speaker was Des Kelly, a Director Consultant from the Process Management International (PMI).

The art of great leadership is not killing motivation!

We are in the 21st century and people’s expectations towards auditing have certainly changed. The industries are evolving and that is enough reason for the Quality Profession to evolve with them.

When an organisation sets a process to deliver a certain outcome, the entire process is designed to deliver that particular intended outcome. In other words, the process does not deliver a surprise! Assumptions and attitudes in an organisation drive the thinking theories. Those thinking theories lead to decisions which in turn design the process in a certain way. “We get what we get” Des Kelly said.

So why is this important to you as an auditor?

Before I answer this question, let me give you some more context. In a random study that  PMI conducted with business leaders, a very important revelation was highlighted. Leaders and Quality Management Professional (and auditors for that matter) were singing from 2 different hymn sheets. Perception and expectations could not have been more different. If you are part of a Quality team, how many times did you hear the team say “if only they would listen”. The study has revealed that Business Leaders were actually looking for QMS professionals to act as advisors; to provide a new pair of eyes to the business. So where did we go wrong?

Here is how we fell into this gap. Lots of quality professionals have taken on a quality job because they were very good at performing the job. So the shift happened from doing the work into checking the work. And suitable is that for the concept of PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act). The duties became so immersed into the day-to-day operations that perhaps the bigger picture was lost. The bigger picture meant that not only checking is needed, but rather studying what happened to come up with recommendations.

And in order to come with recommendations, you as a Quality Professional should be able to study the situation. This is where the PDSA (Plan, DO, Study, Act) comes into place. Study the current situation, and study the theory that should be taken to move the company forward. And when you are about to act, you must understand that abandoning the process is an act in itself and there is nothing wrong with that. So dear Auditor, don’t you think it is time to be an Assessor?

PDSA

So to go back the main question: Why is this important to you as an auditor?

The straightforward answer is for you to become an assessor. You as a Quality Professional – Assessor – should have the understanding of there are 2 different causes: common and assignable. You as a Quality Professional should have the ability to assess the culture of the organisation you are auditing, understanding what acceptable looks like. You as an assessor should go in with the mind set that people want to perform at their best and thus have empathy towards all the hard work that is put into the processes of a certain organisation.

To get to this level of understanding and assessing, you require skills, knowledge and attitude. All of which take place in a gradual process and should be defined. Once there is a solid foundation of all of these three attributes, wisdom comes into shape.

PMI Auditor Competency

So now that it is 2018 and we are getting over the January blues, what is your professional 2018 resolution? What areas are you going to focus on to grow with your business?

If you would like to discuss a plan and understand how to structure it, please do get in touch. I would recommend you take a look at my previous post of the core competencies of the Chartered Quality Institute.

Who is Des Kelly? Des has over 25 years’ experience helping clients around the world develop successful improvement strategies. You can read more about his articles here.

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