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5 Tips for Success

I was reading an article online recently and they referred to ‘5 Tips to Success’ and as I read them, I thought that these apply to anything that we do. And then when I put my Auditor and Consultant hat on, I could see how they applied to that also - This is why I want to share them with you.

#1 Have Strong Communication Skills

Having the ability to speak to humans from all walks of life will set you apart.

As auditors that’s what we do - we speak to humans from all walks of life! We interact with other humans, and we need to get the most out of these people. We need to get information out of these people, so we need to have this awesome ability to communicate.

I always remember this story when I was first starting out as an auditor myself. There were two other gentlemen that were also on that same journey.

One of them had an intimate knowledge of the ISO standards that he was auditing against, the other gentlemen didn’t quite have as high a knowledge, however, certainly had enough to kick off his business.

He'd been exposed to the standards; however, he may not have been able to recite them from memory like the other guy. Anyway, they both went out into the big wide world on their own and started their own auditing and consulting businesses.

Do you know what happened?

The gentlemen that didn't have the most technical knowledge actually completely blitzed it! He nailed it, his business was booming in months. While the other guy was still struggling quite some time later and actually ended up taking a salary job in the end.

The difference was not their technical ability or their knowledge of the standards. It was their personality and how they communicated.

You can have the highest level of technical knowledge of the standards that you're auditing against, however, if you can't talk to people, if you can't get people to feel comfortable with you, then people won't want you back.

Sorry, that's really the truth of the matter. They won't want you back, they want someone that they feel comfortable with. This is why these strong communication skills are so very, very important.

#2 Get a Mentor

I still have mentors to this day. People that I have worked with for over 25 years that I still turn to or phone when I need them. One of them is retired now, but I can still pick up the phone and have a chat with him.

You need that network within your business, and you will find that you gravitate to certain people that are very similar to you. I've been exposed to dozens and dozens of different auditor's and consultants over the years, but there's really only a handful that I consider my mentors. This is because they have the same values as me, the same personality as me, and conduct audits in a similar fashion. So, we're very compatible.

In saying that I do have a couple of them that push the boundaries a bit, which I like, because sometimes I think too straight down the line, too black and white. I’m naturally a very compliant person, so surrounding myself with trusted mentors who think outside the square a bit helps to challenge me.

#3 Create a Support Network

Now, this could be similar to what I was just saying before with building that support network of mentors around you, however, let’s expand on that.

If you're going out on your own, starting your own business, it's really important to have the support of family and friends as well.

When I first left the security of a salaried role to go and take on the world as an auditor and consultant, I needed the support of my family and my friends.

I was able to do this because my husband was working, and he was able to keep paying the bills while I sat at home and watched Oprah every day 😊. I didn’t have much to do in the early days so that’s what I did – no judging 😊.

You know what happens though when you take the leap and you do need to pay the bills? It forces you to pick up the phone and make those hard calls to round up work. So, it wasn't long before I couldn't watch Oprah at lunchtime because I was too busy!

#4 Be Nimble

No one can predict every downturn or market shift, but a willingness to stay nimble is important. You're going to need to be flexible and listen to your audience when they are telling you something. What do the people want? Remain open to pivoting.

It's like, I always tell people - when I first went out on my own to work for myself, I didn't want to be an auditor. Have I told you this before? No, I didn't want to be an auditor at all!

I thought who would want to be an auditor? I wanted to be a consultant.

I was going to go in and implement people's quality management systems and then tag on OH&S and environment. That's what I was going to do. But a different turn of events, different mentors that I came across in the process of building my business changed my mind.

I actually ended up being a certification auditor, and that's what I love doing. Obviously, I am also a trainer – which I’ve always loved doing. I always knew that training was going to be mixed up in my field somewhere. I've had to pivot and change all the way through.

So, I start off as a consultant, end up as a trainer and certification auditor; and then ended up with an online training business which was not in the plan at all!

This is constant growth and being open to change and where those different paths take you because that path that you originally thought you were heading up, it may change.

There will be a fork in the road at some point. Now I’m starting to sound all deep and meaningful – sorry! But the path that you start on is what you need to have gotten into to get to the end result. So be flexible and be open. Listen to what people are saying and keep your mind open to new opportunities always.

#5 Continue Learning

Good leaders are actually good learners - they are always learning in personal and business growth.

Yes, yes, and yes! This is being curious. I love that word! Always stay curious!

If you ask my sons, they always laugh at me, because guess what? I love homework! I love reading things and people giving me activities and workshops to do, to learn new things, and discover new things.

I'm always joining new groups to challenge myself and along with that comes homework. I'm always doing online training, I'm always reading books and have multiple books on the go all the time. I’m always listening to podcasts too… so, always be curious.

If we're here as auditors, if we're here as consultants being curious is beneficial for the job that we're in as well, because we're asking questions, we're listening to people. They're showing us how they do things - we need to have that open mind.

And of course, we can also help you with staying curious as we have some great courses just for you, and with these courses comes a weekly group Q&A zoom where you can pop on and chat with me or ask any questions that you need to. This is how we keep the continual learning going here at ATOL.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment as I’m only too happy to help out.