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I've been on both sides of the auditing spectrum, meaning that I'm in a position that i've been audited and assessed, and now i'm acting as an auditor, or an assessor. What's interesting is being able to empathise and to understand what people and organisations are trying to achieve... it's more than just ticking a box in a checklist.
If I put myself in the position of a client, I think it's important to try and foster a healthy working relationship - more like a partnership - as you move through the certification journey. Partnership is key. Empathy and understanding of what the business is trying to achieve will help this grow into a more prosperous relationship.
There's far more to being a good assessor - or auditor - than conducting a standard audit and completing a checklist... I'm a very good listener, I empathise, and I strongly believe I give sound advice and I make sound decisions. I'm equally as interested in developing the relationship, because I work better when I'm viewed as an extended member of their organisation.
If they open the door and usher me into their operations, I can better tailor my advice to them; I believe that a lot of businesses I've worked saw the value in this rapport-building from their first assessment. I've passed this on to each and all the assessors at Best Practice, and it's become part of our mission statement.
The value of auditing is found largely in being in the very privileged position of being able to understand a business, what they're trying to do, getting a peek at their processes and procedures, and really auditing is all about not being a fault-finding mission, but being tasked with the mission of finding areas to help and improve the customer.
The true value of an effective assessor is that you're in a position that allows you to leverage extensive industry knowledge, refining your organisation's why, and find new ways in which you can improve the quality of your products and services, amongst a raft of other factors that will improve with a quality management system.
As an assessor, my why is to help my clients improve their business, and that's what drives me. I believe that if a business is flourishing, the economy flourishes, which contributes to the sustaining of employment and livelihoods, which further extends to the removing of a lot of socioeconomic problems for society. That's what drives me as a lead assessor, the prospect of helping a business do well, and grow their business to offer to the larger-scale economy.