Management System Success is Management Success


 Looking for SUCCESS? In safety, or in any other area?

To find out more, go to the Succes in Safety page to find out more.

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

[2] Making Your Future - In Business and in Other Parts of Life 



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

Looking for Success?

The basics to reach success in business or otherwise are really simple.

Communication is the basis for success

When reading further, remember what Peter Drucker said:

“The best way to predict your future is to create it”


"What you have to do and the way you have to do it is incredibly simple. Whether you are willing to do it, that's another matter."

I assume that you too, like everybody else, want to be successful, in business and/or in private life. If you are one of those, start with two basic questions:

  1. What is success? 
  2. What do you have to do to reach it? 

Would the process to reach success in safety - in a business environment - be much different from reaching success in other business areas of from reaching success in personal life? My opinion? I do not think so, I think the basics are the same but you have to adapt these to your specific environment and wishes.

First question - what is success? You can get rather "scientific" about this - but try my simple answer: success = achieving your goal or objective.


Success = reaching objectives


Success is not static - it is a moving target and it is similar to continuous improvement  Once one goal has been reached, another follows. You probably will have an end goal to be reached via a number of sub-goals that will are essential to get you where you want to be. Success is future related.


In line with the quotes by Peter Drucker: be careful to select your objectives. You really have to want the success you are looking for; if not you will give up before you will get there! 


Would you only have one objective or goal at any given time? Probably not, you may have several goals to reach your “final” goal. Your plan to reach your objective may include a number of sub-plans, each with their own specific objective.

Once you have reached your objective or goal, could you sit back and relax? Also: probably not. Once you have reached your goal, you will probably set another one and the process starts allover. But, by then, you know the process in and out and, in principle, the process remains the same and the basics of that process are simple. 

To achieve a goal you must: 

  • Have a plan what to do, why, by whom, when and how  
  • Have the knowledge/capabilities (and other resources) to do what needs to be done 
  • Do what must be done – by you and others as applicable - to reach you goal or objective  

In summary, that's the basic, simple, model that I use: Plan - Train - Do. No plan without objective and no success without doing what is in the plan. Don’t give up easily but adapt your plan as and when necessary. Getting success requires work, if it would be easy everybody would have it. But it helps if you know the basics, in business and in private life. 


In the business environment, you normally cannot do things on your own and you need the consent, support and involvement of others. In private life that will also be the case unless you live alone on a faraway island where there are no other people. In business executing the process to make and execute the plan - or "management system" - may be complicated because of people involved. But - fortunately - the basics are simple. 


In private life, you may be setting the objective – where to go - as the starting point of your plan but you may need to the help of others to reach your objective; which makes you the plan leader. In business, you may not be in that leadership position. If you are not, working in a company, or as an external consultant, would it not be nice to know how to reach objectives? Would it not be nice to know what the basics are to get the top person of the organization to give his or her leadership and motivation to bring the success that you are looking for? Would it not be nice to know the process that the company has to follow bringing the leadership and motivation down the organization - while involving people in the development, execution and improvement of the plan to reach success? 


In a business environment, you may want to call the plan a management system and, in fact, a management system is a plan as it contains work to be done to obtain certain results. However a management system is often directed at obtaining the minimum performance level at which a certificate can be obtained. That may bring you the certificate but would it bring you success that goes beyond the certificate? If certificate is all you are looking for, fine, but you should realize that there may be a world of success still to be obtained beyond the level at which the certificate will be issued. 


Anyway, a management system or plan normally contains a number of sub-plans or elements, each of which should have their own, specific, objective contributing to the overall purpose of the plan or management system. The sub-plans are the driving forces behind achieving the overall goal. The sub-plans contain what needs to be done, why, by whom, when and how. Each sub-plan needs a responsible person for coordination of the development, maintenance and improvement of the sub-plan. Periodic checks should be made to evaluate sub-plan activities carried out and results obtained. To that end, each subplan must have the same generic structure that goes from purpose and why via activities to carry out to evaluation (of activities carried out and results thereof) - the improvement wheel. 


Making, implementation, maintenance and improvement of the plan (in a business environment) is included in a process that starts at the top of the organization and descends down the organization involving others at different levels. Such process may take some time and will always be adjusted to obtain results. In principle, this process would involve delegation of (some) decision-making to the lower end of the organization; if you ask people to make a contribution, it also means giving them responsibilities. 


To make the process successful, people need to speak the same language and understand the importance of purpose and plan. Sharing this knowledge is part of the process. 


If the goal serves the entire organization, it requires involving as many people as possible in the process. This is why the importance of an objective such as to “improve safety " should be shared by many. A goal can also be more specific and involve a smaller group. This is why sub-plans may require a specific department, for example purchasing, design, training, etc., to form the heart of the coordination team - of course, including contact with (end) users. 


The process to make a plan or management system is generic and, independent of the objective; you must go through the same steps. As far as the speaking the same language is concerned, if the objective is "improve safety" efforts should be taken to make clear what the shared importance is. This can be done by looking at the basic activities to enable "safety":  risk identification, control measures, etc. Then it will be easy to establish relationships with other business aspects that use the same basis: quality, environment, risk management, cost management, company reputation and survival. 


When depending on others to reach success it is essential to:

  1. Know the process to make the plan - the route to reach success  
  2. Speak the same language – and agree on the way to go  

You find both essential issues addressed in two books that I wrote.


To reach success in “safety", both books are of importance to the safety professional working as an internal or external consultant. But as the approach is largely generic, the principles will probably apply to all business areas and activities, large and small. It will also apply to private life.


Book 1 shows the process that will lead to success. Although safety oriented, this book describes the generic process to reach objectives and success. Based on the Plan – Train – Do model, the process consisting of 17 steps starts at the top and goes down the organization involving those who need to be involved while sharing knowledge and requesting participation. Included in the book is a rating tool that allows you to obtain an (objective) impression of how well your organization has done in the improvement/development process; measured in 17 steps. While the process that I show has 17 steps, you should adapt it to the specific circumstances of your organization or that of your client.


Book 2 is more for those who work in the area of safety, risk management and control of loss. It shows the relation between these three business areas as part of the most essential leadership and management function: to solve problems, proactive and reactive - prior to and after the unwanted event. The three areas are based on the same principles or activities: risk identification, (proactive) control measures and (retroactive) learning form what goes wrong. Accepting that, these three areas are practically the same, at least form a business pint of view. And you can add almost all other areas, activities and tasks to that if you accept that one of the main task of leadership and management, actually: of everyone in your organization, is to make better what is being done: protecting your organization.


In safety land and looking form a historic point of view, people often make the relation between safety success (≈ accident frequency) and control/development phases as shown graphically in the picture below. First there is the technology phase, then the organization and finally culture as the vehicle to get the best end results (read: success; when one levels off, the next phase will bring additional impetus. What will be after the culture phase is not indicated in the picture – does this indicate that there is nothing else or that culture is the end phase? 

Phases of safety development

Safety development phases

The presented by the picture above seems to suggest that these are separable phases with one following the other. However, you should really look upon this as a trinity in which "organization" at the center also takes care of technology and culture. In my opinion, the picture is misleading, not to say wrong. The sequence of development phases presented above is based on the development that started with the industrial revolution in which period technology was ruling and the value of human lives - of the workers, that is - was not really an issue. So, the sequence show above may be based on 150 - 200 years of history. Today we should realize that organization is leading as shown in the picture below. Today's thinking should put organization first dealing with technology and culture/behavior simaltaneaoulsy. Based on "think & decide first, then do". 


Organization - the real source to success in safety


Organization - the real source of safety success.


Should you be looking for ongoing success or continuous improvement, you should put the emphasis on “the way we do things here”, the organization. But you should do that using a process involving everyone in the organization, at every level. When doing it right, you will get the machines and equipment in line with technological developments. You will also get the individual behavior – and the culture - that comes with involving people and giving them responsibilities where necessary and justified. In order to achieve his or her success, the (safety) consultant must know the process to make to the plan and speak the language that to build the bridge to decision-making management leadership. 




Communication is the basis for success

To communicate for success in safety you need: 


  1. to be able to place safety in the context of organizational leadership (and management) and in relation to other business interests such as risk management, cost control, insurance, quality  
  2. to know the process that is the pathway leading to success  

Knowing the detailed safety techniques will not give you success. That technical detail may be important after you have gotten the attention and support of others. First you need to get the attention and support from the top of the organization, from management but first of all from the leadership. 


The two books that I wrote relate to these two main success issues: 

  1. Risk Management, Safety and Control of Loss – Protecting Your Organization  
  2. Making Your Future in Business (formerly: Building a Management System that Works)  


Interested in my books? Go here 



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