Management System Success is Management Success


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[1] Risk Management, Safety and Control of Loss - Protecting Your Organization

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My books Success in Safety Improvement Model Management System Success Improvement Process 17-Step Process Improvement Process Rating Management System Structure Management System Content Improving the Management System The Audit Management System Rating International Safety Rating System Accidents and Incidents Accident Investigation Protocol Safety Opinion Survey

17-STEPS to make your MANAGEMENT SYSTEM work

If you are an consultant, the 17 step process could form the basis of the agreement between your client and yourselves IF your client wants to use your services to improve his or her organization. It does not matter whether you are an internal consultant or external. And it does not matter whether it concerns safety or quality or environmental or a combination of those into an integrated approach.

BEFORE you start the process below - very important!

Before starting the process to make and execute the plan that will get your company or client where they want to go, they first have to answer the question: where do we want to go? Once that is established, you want to make sure if that is really, truly what your company or client wants. If it anything else than improving a certain business area, think twice. If it is only a certificate that is wanted, and really only that, just do what is necessary to get the certificate and, who knows, the company or client may even become better than they were before.

To obtain a certificate a company may select to include an external consultant and leave all or most of the work to that consultant with little effort by the company itself.

In contrast with the above, once real improvement is selected as the objective, all or most of the work need be done by people working for the company or organization. This is in line with the underlying leadership and motivation principles to obtain the cooperation of all involved allowing the "emotional ownership" required for the desired change process. In this case the role of the (external) consultant would be more limited to guarding the process and acting as a mediator.

Once it is definitely decided that the company or client wants to become better in a certain area - safety, quality, cost control or anything else - they need to establish why they want to improve and get at least some idea of the performance level they wish to obtain as a result of the overall management system. Once that has been established, you and they are probably ready to start the process that will get them there.

17 steps to make your management system work

Below is a description of the process that I developed during my work as a (safety) management consultant. During that time, I worked with the ideas and tools that came from Frank E. Bird, Jr. one of the international (safety) management champions in the second half of last century. His concepts and ideas, including the ISRS (International Safety Rating System) live on today as you will find out searching Google for “Frank E. Bird, Jr.” or "International Safety Rating System".

When having my own consultancy – first under the name ILCI (International Loss Control Institute) Benelux, later under the name LCC (Loss Control Centre) – my clients were mainly in the process industry. During the eighties of last century, safety was not much of an issue outside that industry; it was only at the end of the eighties and early nineties that I became involved in the areas of contractor safety but even then those were mainly contractors supplying services to ….. the process industry.


Anyway, I realized that my clients were paying mainly to help them to become safer, in essence that meant to get the injury frequency rate down. I also realized that the results they were looking for could only be obtained through their own efforts, through a well identified process that they should go through to help themselves. But as a consultant, I should be able to tell them what that process should be.



The Principle Emotional Ownership

The more ownership people have in the way a present situation has developed, the more difficult it is to change


So first I came up with a process of 11 steps and later those 11 became 16 which I now changed to 17 steps adding the step "Management Team Review" which is now step 16 pushing step 16 to place 17. The number of steps, by the way, is not that relevant. It could be less or more, whatever is right for your situation.


The 17-steps to make your management system reflect a process that is generic and would – at least in my opinion – apply to all management systems; as such safety management is really no different than any other aspect of management be it quality or environmental or whatever. All management systems contain management activities to be carried out to reach a certain goal and certain objectives.


I realize that the execution of the process in a particular situation can be rather complex and could involve many aspects. It is not my objective with this book to describe everything and anything that could be related to “building a management system that works”. My objective is to show you what I think are the essentials and I just add certain things to further highlight certain issues. Given my background, these may be safety management related.



The Principle of Resistance to Change

The greater the departure of any planned change from the accepted ways of the past, the greater the potential resistance by the people involved

 The 17 steps of the process

Below is a description of the process that I used in consulting clients on their way to success. The underlying thought is that it is the client who makes his own success, not the consultant. The latter, however, has to be able to let the client know which steps to take and, preferably, the client has to agree to follow the 16-step guide. That way the 16-step process becomes the "agreement" between the organization and the consultant.


Application of the 16-step process allows you to further improve your services as a consultant based on client success. When doing this again and again, you will be bale to refer new clients to the success that others had with your help. How much better do you want your marketing references to be? 


Please note that the 17-steps process as I describe in more detail in my book is a guide. You may want to combine some steps, leave one or two out or add some and may choose to follow a slightly different sequence. Look at the PDF document "Improvement process evaluation and success" for some experience and client feed-back. (Not an error - the process had 16 steps at that time.)


1. Senior Manager Leadership


Leadership by the highest senior manager or managers of the company, unit or department providing their support, resources and ongoing attention to assure that objectives will be obtained as intended.


2. Management Team leadership training/orientation


Training of higher management to put all noses in the same direction and to obtain the cooperation and endorsement from the top down. Include worker representation as appropriate.


3. Project Improvement Team


High level management team plus relevant staff and worker representation, this team will have the overall responsibility to see that the management system is properly developed and implemented.


4. Internal Expertise


Internal expertise available concerning the matter at hand, depending on the objective of the management system. To also include adequate knowledge concerning process, content and structure of the management system to be developed.


5. Project communicated


Communication of the improvement project to include reasons, objectives and process along which the objectives will be realized.


6. Opinion Survey


Opinion surveys at all levels to obtain a good impression about how the management system subject is being experienced by people at various levels to include higher and middle management, supervision and operational personnel.


7. Base-line Assessment


Use of a reference - commercial or otherwise available - to obtain a zero-base impression of the present situation as well as determining the possible gap between what is and what should be.


8. Activity Area selection


The selection of the first subjects (activity areas or "elements") to be part of the management system. Selection to be based on need, resources and anticipated visual results to be obtained within a limited time period.


9. Introduction Training


Training of all relevant managerial, staff and operational personnel to convey the philosophy, concepts and models on which the management system and its development shall be based. To include the concepts related to process, content and structure of the system.


10. Activity Coordination Team(s)


Setting up coordination teams for element development. Persons included should preferably be of all relevant levels in the organization, managerial as well as operational and be knowledgeable about the element subject.


11. Coordination training


Training of people selected to take part in a coordination team to develop a specific element of the management system. Training required comprises all aspects of an element, content as well structural aspects.


12. Make the standing plan - the elements or management activity areas


What specific activities need to be carried out for the elements selected in step 8? By whom? When? How the activities should be carried out would normally described in separate documents including tools, forms to be used etc. Final approval of the management system activity areas should be by the project team - see step 3 above - or any other authorized person or party.


13. Implementation training


Training of people who need to do the work to be carried out. Includes the planned activities as well as the periodic evaluations to assess work done and the results thereof.


14. Management briefing


Management throughout the organization needs to know the critical issues concerning the work that needs to be done. Just asking "how are things going" will not do the trick.


15. Do - carry out the activities according to plan


Carry out the activities according to plan by well trained people. The doing includes periodic evaluation of activities - are activities carried out as planned? - and results - do the activities produce the desired results. if activities are not as planned: why not?


16. Review by the Management Improvement Team


Review of activity implementation and results of both the individual elements as well as the overall management system as the basis to set up properly resourced action plans for further improvement in step 17.


17. Extend system as appropriate


If results are not there: extend activities or extend plan. Build and implement the management system over time. This cannot be done in one year. Start small and let it grow based on results.



Vincent T. Lombardi

Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while ... you do them right all the time.

Winning is a habit.

Unfortunately, so is losing

Vincent Thomas Lombardi (1913 – 1970) was an American football coach.

The ongoing process is visualized in the diagram below and I have tried to put each step into one of the categories that we have also seen in the Model: Leadership - Plan - Train - Do. While it should be obvious that step it is in 15 that the real action takes place, the steps 1 thru 14 are all needed to make 15 into the success that is wanted.



17 steps towards success 



To obtain and continue the success of your management system needs more than a one time action plan. The process needs to be repeated as appropriate while extending the management system in step 17 as needed. This continuing process is visualized in the picture below where I used my Topves logo symbolizing a combination of the platform model and the ongoing process.



Repeat and extend the 17-step process to obtain and maintain desired results.



The 17-step rating tool


For those who are interested, I transferred the 16 step process into a rating tool. Not a scientific instrument but an attempt to put a number on the process to get better by using a management system. 


If you are a consultant and in communication with your management or client, it may help to put a number on the process that should be theirs. Or, even better, let them put a number on their process! As part of a management training session? The rating tool helps to put a relative value on the total process and show weak and strong areas.



To make a better future based on better future pasts,



build on the present that came from the present past

to make a better future so all future pasts will be improved

leading to an even better future further away


Other improvement processes

Obviously, the 17-step process that I developed is not the only process describing what to do to improve. You may find others using the Internet or from books. Here are two:

[1] The Crosby 14 Steps to Improvement, first published in 1979. This is an adapted reprint of the McGraw-Hill publication found on the Internet. And a Power Point presentation also taken from the net. The Crosby steps are related to quality and include:

  1. Management Commitment 
  2. Quality Improvement Team  
  3. Quality Measurement
  4. Cost of Quality Evaluation
  5. Quality awareness
  6. Corrective action
  7. Establish an ad-hoc Committee for the Zero defects Program
  8. Supervisor training
  9. Zero Defects  day
  10. Goal setting
  11. Error-Cause removal
  12. Recognition
  13. Quality Councils
  14. Do-it-over-again

[2] A description "15 Steps for Effective Implementation of Management Systems" taken from the book "Safety, Health, Environment & Quality (SHEQ) - Guide to Risk Management" by Germain, Bird and Labuschagne (2011). These steps include:

  1. Site Managers accept the need to change
  2. Communicate the commitment to change and the process for achieving the change throughout the organization
  3. Conduct an initial assessment to Identify the site’s present performance regarding the systems it intends to implement
  4. Develop a specific, long- range (3 - 5 year) implementation plan
  5. Develop a short to mid-range action plan to address assessment findings
  6. Develop specific roles and responsibilities for site personnel regarding the SHEQ program
  7. Develop reference materials to guide site personnel in implementing the SHEQ program
  8. Conduct orientation and introductory session for appropriate site managers
  9. Train site coordinators
  10. Train site managers
  11. Conduct training for specialized activity coordinators of “Champions”
  12. Conduct periodic assessments to identify the progress being made and to identify areas needing improvement
  13. Establish a system to monitor the site’s performance on a routine basis
  14. Conduct ongoing training and communication
  15. Conduct management reviews and complete corrective actions

It is interesting to note that three processes - 14, 15 and 17 steps - were developed separately from each other and at different times.

There are even more "improvement processes" with 3 steps, 4 steps, 5 steps, 6 steps, 7 steps, 8 steps and 9 steps and maybe some others. I looked at most of them in comparison with the 17-step process that I developed during the second half of the eighties and suggest that you do the same. Use what suits you best but I assume that you can figure out which one I like best.


NEXT PAGE is Rating the 17-step Process

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