SEEING THE BIGGER PICTURE: A willingness to ask 'why' is essential to fully appreciating our purpose in the organization.

AuthorKohli, Nira

Among questions children ask of adults, perhaps the most common is, "Why?" When told, "Clean your room," "Do your homework," or "The sky is blue," children often respond "But why?" Then as we age, our innate curiosity decreases and conformity and harmony become a greater priority. We fear asking why may be interpreted as provocation, disrespectful, or even a waste of time. Our worries intensify, and the desire to fit in can overwhelm our curiosity.

For internal auditors, asking why is vital to professional development and success. It helps us understand the organization--not only our role in it, but the greater purpose we serve and contributions we provide. Asking why is necessary for seeing the bigger picture of our work.

Effective internal auditing requires a questioning mindset. Audit leaders, of course, need to communicate project goals and explain how they serve client objectives and contribute to the organization. Even so, encouraging employees to ask why, as well, helps them obtain a better understanding of each assigned task and a greater appreciation for its significance. Plus, increased engagement empowers and motivates employees, helping ensure everyone is energized and focused.

Individual empowerment enables employees to take ownership for their work, thereby cultivating a sense of pride. They view project success not just as a win for the organization, but as a personal achievement. Continuously encouraging employees to ask why and provide feedback helps sustain that sense of pride. And by doing so, managers provide team members a voice on decisions that affect projects. The resulting...

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