Improvement PROCESS - Building your Management System
The improvement process as described on the next
page and, in more detail, in my book can be used for a whole management system or it can be used for a single
activity area or project.
The improvement process to build a management system that works finds its roots in the concept visualized by the
The Platform Model as seen from above
Four aspects are essential to bring desired
results and determine the Level of Performance which "rests" on these columns:
(1) The making of a
PLAN to include the management activity
areas and activities that need to be done, by WHOM and WHEN to reach results. This “standing plan”
or “management system” needs to be backed up by procedures or work instructions explaining HOW the
activities should be carried out.
(2) Instruction (TRAIN) of people at all
levels so the work to be done can be done right to obtain the desired results.
(3) Execution (DO) of the activities
required by the management system by people who know what to do, why and how to do it. To include the
evaluation of what is being done and the results obtained.
foundation of this 3-dimensional "platform" model is:
(4) management LEADERSHIP and
MOTIVATION, the driving force behind the improvement process.
PLAN - WORK TO BE DONE - ADAPTATION OF
reach desired results, management activity areas or "elements" of the management system need to be identified.
Selection of activity areas and the nature and quality of the activities in each area determine to a large extent
the failure or success of the management system. To reach a desired performance level minimum criteria must be
established for elements covering activity areas such as, but not limited to:
engineering and change
materials and services
task analysis and
rules and work
knowledge and skill
learning from what
should be realized that, depending on the size of the organization, an effective management system cannot be build
overnight. It will take months and may take years. The total management system should preferably be executed
through various consecutive plans.
selection of activity areas for the first plan is critical. That plan should include activity areas that are
essential to reach the overall objective(s) of the management system while results of the individual activity
areas should be obtained within a relatively short period, preferably no more than say 12 - 18 months. The shorter
the period to show visible results, the better it will be as this will shoe people that it works and that
management is serious about change and improvement.
management system activity areas should be embedded in a structure to allow the desired results without undue efforts;
periodic evaluation of what is being done and results obtained is the key!
TRAIN – COMMUNICATE & INSTRUCT - DEVELOPMENT OF
After establishment of what needs to be done,
by whom, when and how, people should receive adequate training for motivation, knowledge and skills to carry out
the required work.
Training is necessary for success and
General introduction training necessary
to put "all noses in the same direction". "This is where we want to go together and that is
the way we will do it". This training should be provided top-down in the organization. Apart
from some basic information, including cause-causation model and some definitions, emphasis
should be given to the why of the anticipated change, how it will be accomplished and the
need for cooperation of all levels in the organization. Very important is to convey the
leadership, motivation and support by (top) management; this is why management should be
visible and participate in those training sessions. The process of how the
change will be effectuated should be part of this general training. The 17-step improvement process can serve as a
Training required for those people
who play a role in the making of the plan. In particular this will concern those who will act as
coordinators of specific management system elements. Those people will guide and coach others in a
team effort to develop the element for which they are responsible. They should have a thorough
knowledge of the management system, the elements and the structure thereof.
- Training following the establishment of
specific activities for those elements that form part of the action plan. This training should include any
forms and tools to be used; it is this training that is the basis for execution of the element specific
activities - DO what needs to be done.
DO – CARRY OUT THE WORK THAT NEEDS TO BE
Ultimately, success can only be secured if the
right activities are carried out in the right way. This requires the necessary discipline to do the work and to
keep on doing it from top-management down, providing enthusiastic leadership in support of activities carried out
by management, staff and employees.
Top-down AND Bottom-up for best results
Best, and lasting, results can be obtained
through a combination of top-down and bottom-up involvement, during preparatory
stages but certainly also where it concerns the way activities are carried out. Top-down alone, as has so often
been the case in the past, will not do it and neither will a one-sided bottom-up movement; a wanted combination of
the two can provide the proper basis for a lasting success.
top-down approach follows top-management's accepted leadership role in providing direction and support by
indicating which activities are expected to be carried out in the organization, what training will be provided and
what results the results should be.
The principle of
Motivation to accomplish results tends to increase as people are given opportunity to
participate in matters affecting those results
Top-down support for the execution of
the work to be done. By making important items, truly important. By implanting in the organization a system for
self-measurement of what is being done and what results are being obtained. By providing feedback and commending
people and work groups whenever possible. By making sure that undesired situations or events are being corrected in
order of priority. By asking about performance and progress at relevant meetings. By being pro-active rather than
re-active. And above all: by example whenever possible and appropriate. By action, not just words!
The principle of recognition
Motivation to accomplish results tends to increase as people are given recognition for
their contribution to those results
Bottom-up involving people in
problem-solving within their area of operation. Using the expertise that is available in relation with the work to
be done and the environment in which it is done.
Activity involvement of employees and lower
management levels may include:
installations and workplace
"critical" tasks, analysis of those and the establishment of task procedures or work practices
up-dating and improvement of existing procedures
inspections in their own or in another department
cause analysis of
unwanted events, accidents/incidents
establishing of rules
to guide proper behavior
Considering this bottom-up involvement, one
has to realize that this does not come by itself. Bottom-up involvement should be brought into the organization by
top-down desire, establishing effective two-way communication channels. In fact, top-management
bottom-up involvement to make it
truly effective. Adequate (prompt, correct, positive) management response to problems and/or solutions and
suggestions originating from lower levels of the organizational hierarchy is necessary.
is of great importance that the three supporting activities (plan, train, do) are developed in relation to each
other. There must be a balance between the activities to be carried out, the training to provided and the execution
of the activities in practice. If not, an unbalanced situation may occur.
my experience, training is often thought to be the solution for problems and it is - but only after
establishing what activities should be carried out, by whom, when and how. Training is not a magic wand or a
"cure all". Training
people and then sending them back into the organization where the knowledge gained is not to be put in practice has
a counterproductive effect and may lead to demotivation.
The Principle Emotional
The more ownership people have in the way a present situation has developed, the more
difficult it is to change
process to "Make Your Management System Work" is further described under The 17-step improvement process.