(An idea factory in Schenectady. I stole that joke.)
Recaps are getting to be too much work. Go back through the last few posts if you’d like to catch up. Suffice to say that it is time to talk about the second of the only two important traits all auditors should possess - creativity.
I’ve got to be honest with you. I’ve tried starting this section of our discussion a number of times. I tried one version with a definition of creativity. I started another version with a story of an uncreative supervisor. I started a third version with generic questions about creativity. I started other versions with this and I started other versions with that. And I threw each of them away because I keep having a problem. It is not that I don’t have thoughts about creativity - the need for creativity, the importance of creativity - no, believe me, I have plenty to say on this topic. (In fact, look at some of the older posts and you’ll see the evidence.) No, I think my problem comes to one question that haunts me.
How can anyone argue that creativity is not one of the most important traits to be desired within our departments and the internal audit staff? Sure, maybe you don’t agree it is the top one or two, but I desperately hope it makes, at the very least, your top five (with a bullet).
Because creativity is a key driver for the success of anyone in any profession. Creativity drives change, creativity drives innovation, creativity drives discovery, creativity drives thinking, creativity drives analysis, creativity drives improvement, creativity drives creativity. Creativity is the foundation of building a better audit trap.
And creativity is the natural bedfellow of inquisitiveness.
Put the two together - harness it just right - and there is no stopping any department, any auditor, any company, any anyone from becoming the best, the leader, the gold standard others try to emulate.
What it comes down to is this – while I can pontificate on the subject for hours and hours (and those who have spent much time with me know that those hours and hours can become days and days), can blather endlessly on why creativity is so important, and can achieve new heights of verbosity discussing how a focus on creativity can change everything for the good, I find it to be so self-evident as part of this discussion that further proselytization just seems like trying to paint a white room white – yeah, you got some new paint, but it’s already been done.
So I’ll just say this. We are in a constant search for risks and solutions, controls and tests, value adds and improved customer relations. We will achieve none of these if we don’t make creativity a cornerstone to the DNA of all auditors. (Mixed metaphor – get over it – I’m being creative here).
And I’ll just say this, also. I would suggest you look at any audit shop that has been outsourced and ask this question: Were they creative?
Then ask yourself this question: Am I being creative, am I fostering creativity, am I allowing creativity to flourish?
If the answer to the latter is no, then look around because there is someone out there being real creative who is about to creatively figure out a way to creatively create themselves a job out of what you are doing.