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The Audit Stage - Continue, Change or Stop?

This post is part of a series of posts about IDEMA. IDEMA is a process that came out of the Noodlehead Marketing journey.

Audit Overview

  • Have you ever been in a situation where you were doing something the way things have always been done wondering why you were still doing it that way?
  • Have you ever been in a situation where there was a better way to do what you were doing and you wondered why you had not switched to the better way?
  • Have you ever wanted evidence the actions you were taking were having the impact you wanted?
  • Have you ever been in a situation where some activity you were doing probably should have been stopped long ago?
If you have ever asked yourself something like this in your work or life, you now know the value of an audit. People, circumstances, resources change and we must change in order to stay effective in what we are doing. If we don't we are likely to maintain a behavior and culture in our organization which will lead to our demise.
The audit helps to reassure us and guide us forward. It helps us to see what is working and affirm it. It helps us to see what needs improvement and change it. It helps us to see what is no longer working and stop it. 
In order to gain the value of an audit, we must take ourselves through a vigorous process. It is a process which, at first, may be uncomfortable. For a moment, we may be exposed but it is essential if we are to grow and improve.
We have broken the audit into three main stages.

The First Stage - The Painting Of Three Portraits

Our first stage in the audit process is where we paint three portraits. The portrait of our past, the portrait of our present and the portrait we want our future to be.

Our past is important because it gives us insight into our origin and where we came from. It also allows us to learn how we succeeded and how we failed. These lessons are invaluable as we move forward.

When we have a clear picture of the present, it allows us to see how we have changed from when we started. It also gives us our starting point in moving towards our future.

Our future is important because it will be the vision which leads our actions. The contrast between the present and the future allows us to see and prioritize the gaps we must bridge in order to arrive at our destination.

The Second Stage - Reflecting On Our Portraits

Our second stage is where we reflect on our findings and determine how we will respond. We will have three options as we reflect on our organization, department or project.
  1. When our present and future portrait are the same, or the difference is not worth pursuing, we continue doing what we are doing without change
  2. When our present and future portraits are different, and the difference is worth pursuing, we will change our way of doing things.
  3. When we have no future portrait worth pursuing, we will stop.

The Third Stage - Our Next Step

Our third stage is where we decide what we will do next. We have seen the portrait of our past, present and future. We have determined we want to keep going, change or stop.

If we chose to change, our process revealed insight which led to ideas for improving what we were doing. Our next step is to create a plan for beginning our journey of change.

If we chose to continue without change, our process ought to have affirmed us that what were doing was in deed the best way to accomplish what we were intending to accomplish. At this point, our next steps is to memorialize the audit process story for future reference. 

If we chose to stop, our process has saved us from wasting future efforts and resources in an endeavor ultimately leading to termination.

Audit Areas

When we intend to run an audit, there are several areas we can focus this effort on and like an onion, an organization has layers. We believe there are three meaningful layers. A core (Organization Foundation), a support layer (Departments & Campaigns) and an external layer (Projects). 
An audit can be done in each of these three areas.

The Core

The Core (Purpose, Vision, Mission & Core Values) is the most important element of our organization. We want our core strong because it will be what holds us together through time and tough circumstances. Auditing the core assess it's strength and accuracy. We follow a process to determine how strong it is. Where elements of the core are missing, we will work together to fill in the gaps.

The Support Layer

The Support layer (Departments) is how we segment our organization so we can easily delegate categories of authority to operate within our organizational structure. A support layer audit will focus on a specific department. We will evaluate the structure of the department, its goals, priorities and projects. For a department audit, we would select a department such as marketing and evaluate it. Our intent is to identify elements within this department, but we will restrain from diving deep into individual projects.

The External Layer

The External layer (Projects) is how we segment our departments into tactical actions. These projects tend to directly address a specific gap and are key to bringing the vision of an organization to life. The everyday actions come as a result of a project. For a project audit, we could assess a website, email marketing campaign, new member orientation, or sales process.

Where do you need an audit? 
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