Internal Audit Really Is a Part of the Real World

Let me tell you a story. This story is true (which always makes a tale that much better) and occurred while I was providing training for various IIA chapters over the last few weeks. 

In this particular instance the topic of the training was communication.

Now, I have to let you know that none of the brilliance I was sharing at this particular venue was of my own doing. I was using the materials from the IIA's Communication seminar — a seminar that includes excellent material about such things as presentations and interviews. Germane to this particular story was the section on negotiations. (Actually, it is one of my favorite parts of the seminar. It has solid materials and some of the most fun [and funniest] role-plays I've seen in any course.)

I will not go into great depth about what is covered in the negotiations section. Attend the seminar if you really want to find out — and I'm here to tell you that you will not be disappointed. (This has been an unpaid endorsement.)  However, a key point of the section is that, for there to be negotiation, for there to be compromise, for there to be an agreement at the end of the tunnel, there must be some shared interest — some ever-so-minuscule common ground which the two sides can begin to use as a foundation for that eventual agreement. (Insert your own joke about the government here.)

All through this section (in fact, throughout the entire seminar) the group was involved, lively, and, in general, a great group to work with.

Cut to next morning.

Before the session started, an attendee came up and said, "I just wanted to let you know I was able to use some of the negotiation concepts you were talking about."

I asked her how she was able to do it. She explained that over the course of the previous evening she eventually wound up in a — oh, just to be nice, we'll call it a "debate" — with her teenage daughter. If you are a parent of a teenager, I need not fill in the blanks regarding the quality of said "debate." Similarly, having been the parent of teenagers a few years ago (I got over it), I did not need much more detail from her.

She went on to tell me that she used the techniques we had been discussing as part of the negotiations (and, more specifically hostile negotiations) she had with her teenager. Much to her surprise, when the techniques were used, the discussion deescalated and actually ended with a negotiated settlement that included the teenager doing her homework.

Who says the skills we learn as auditors have nothing to do with the real world.

Posted on Nov 4, 2013 by Mike Jacka

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  1. Oh I was expecting you would tell me exactly how she utilized this strategy :D What was their common ground amid said debate?

  1. I wish I knew.  She shared with me the idea that they found the common ground and it led to positive discussions.  What she didn't share was that common ground.

    I think she kept it secret in hopes she might author that next blockbuster book "I Talked to a Teenager, Got Her to Agree, and Lived to Tell About It".



  1. Absolutely right, communication and negotiation skills are part of real wrold.


    IA!!! maybe

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