Mark Walsh CQP MCQI, Technical Director at Q-SYS Solutions, argues that a military background can be an asset for auditing.
When preparing for the transition to civilian life, ex-service personnel are encouraged to focus on their transferable skills. This exercise starts with listing the personal qualities that are equally recognised across the military and civilian employment spheres.
Some of the qualities often attributed to service personnel include being: ethical; open-minded; diplomatic; observant; perceptive; versatile; tenacious; decisive; self-reliant; able to act with fortitude; open to improvement; culturally sensitive; and collaborative.
Of course, these qualities are also critical to successful auditing. An auditor or team without these personal qualities could potentially do the auditing process, auditing organisation, and the auditee more harm than good.
ISO 19011 is the international standard “Guidelines for auditing management systems”, which covers audit personnel, roles and responsibilities, and competence in various clauses. The list of personal qualities mentioned above can be found in clause 7.2.2. Personal behaviour. Many people leaving military service already possess many of those qualities – whether they are aware of it or not.
The military is synonymous with repetitive drills with a focus on improvement. In the face of instructors’ demands, military personnel remain focused, diplomatic and tenacious, reacting with a simple ‘yes, Staff’.
I enlisted into the Royal Logistic Corps as a Movement Controller before later training as a Pashto interpreter. Both roles would require me to use the personal qualities described in ISO 19011.
As a Movement Controller, I was deployed to Iraq in 2004. I was managing the British military air desk as the Air Transport Liaison Officer (ATLO) at Baghdad military airhead. Part of my role was to book passengers on daily flights running the Basra-Baghdad-Kuwait and return route. As a lone operator, I had to be self-reliant; collaborative because of the multinational presence; and decisive and diplomatic, as it wasn’t always possible to accept every passenger, and decisions had to be made around priority.
If you are … looking to add to your quality function, then consider hiring personnel from the veteran community