The term audit comes from the Latin word audire: to listen.

As an initial step I need to get a sense for the situation: people, problems, atmosphere. By speaking with key people identified by you, the client.

The interviews last about one hour. They begin with the interviewee asking me questions. Who I am. What my background is. How I work. What my mandate is. The purpose of the audit. How their statements will be used. Will they see my analysis.

Why begin in this way? Your people need to feel comfortable with me, to trust me, to sense that I care and that I can help. That trust is the prerequisite for them opening up to me. I cannot be of help without understanding where the problems are.

I then begin asking the interviewee questions. Three areas interest me. First, what problems the team is experiencing. Second, what the overall atmosphere is among the colleagues. Third, which deeper-lying cultural drivers might be contibuting to the problems.

I then analyze the interview statements. With two goals in mind. First, to describe the situation in the three areas mentioned above – problems, atmosphere, culture. Second, to suggest an approach to solving the problems.

I’ll send that analysis to you as the client. At a time convenient for you we will discuss in detail my analysis, suggestions, and overall sense of the situation. You then decide whether to futher engage me in solving the problems.

Back to John’s Approach.