I’ve recently written about my journey of taking a business through to ISO22301 certification and how I achieved it with virtually no prior experience while creating a management system completely from scratch. It was quite the adventure and I naively assumed the journey would end there…
The truth is there is no end point to this journey (unless you’re a consultant) as you begin to evidence the system’s continuing improvement and maturity over time. You will have to continually work with whatever you create during these audits and keep it alive long enough to pass those surveillance visits!
At this point in the system’s development I decided it would be worthwhile in undertaking some additional training to prepare myself. A close colleague and mentor of mine suggested:
“The ISO 22301 Lead Auditor training is definitely the way forward for people at your stage, it’s quickly becoming a pre-requisite for most BC jobs”
So off the back of this conversation I immediately took to the online job search engines and sifted through every person specification I could find for BC. As it happens there were no specific references to have this qualification as a prerequisite. There was however continual reference to having detailed knowledge of ISO 22301 so one would assume that taking this course would act as good evidence of this. I also looked at the course content and student reviews where possible and overall it seemed like a valuable thing to do.
I have since attended the course and sat the required exam. I am hoping to share a few of my thoughts, particularly with those looking to undertake similar training. As you’d expect the course heavily focuses on the auditor’s perspective which looking back to certification would have provided very useful insight!
Learn to walk before you can run!
Perhaps the most significant thing that I’ve taken from my new found perspective is that you don’t have to create the most perfect BCMS straight away. As you may know, one of the key focuses of this standard is continuous improvement and as long as you have the fundamentals in place with a plan to mature the auditor tends to be satisfied. Looking back on my own certification I created an admin monster and while that BCMS did pass stage 1 audit, it became unsustainable! It has to be right for the needs of your business in the short and long term.
The auditor has seen it all before…
I was amazed to hear the instructor roll off countless tales of auditees trying to deflect and distract the process to maximum effect. So if you’re planning to top load your audit with a queue of interviews to waste time followed by a 60 minute site tour please be mindful that an experienced auditor will know what you are trying to do. I’d devote your effort and attention to providing the right detail instead.
The value of open questions…
A very useful part of this course for those trying to achieve certification is that it provides a very clear idea of the style and type of questions your key staff could be asked during their interviews. More specifically just how open-ended they might be. This will definitely assist with my follow up training and pre-audit briefings.
ISO 22301 knowledge refresh
If you are implementing a BCMS in alignment this the ISO 22301 standard then you will no-doubt be familiar with the requirements but what’s really useful in this course is that you undertake your work from an auditors perspective and it provides a wealth of new practical applications.
Do not despair when you spot holes in your own work!
Naturally as you progress through the training you become empowered with this new way of evaluating your system and as you’d expect you begin to subconsciously audit your own work. Try not to panic over any key omissions and view it as an opportunity for improvement. I know this might seem like I’m stating the obvious but from a junior professional’s perspective I have to admit that I did start to panic over the weaker areas of my work.
If you’d like to know more about the ISO 22301 Lead Auditor course you can find some information here.