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".
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
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
The more ownership people have in the way a present situation has developed, the more
difficult it is to change
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.
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.
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
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
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
process evaluation and success" for some experience and client feed-back. (Not an
error - the process had 16 steps at that time.)
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.
Team leadership training/orientation
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.
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.
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
the improvement project to include reasons, objectives and process along which the objectives will be
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
The 17-step rating tool
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
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
build on the present that came from the
make a better future so all
future pasts will be improved
leading to an even better future further
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:
 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:
Quality Improvement Team
Cost of Quality Evaluation
Establish an ad-hoc Committee for the Zero defects Program
Zero Defects day
 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:
Site Managers accept the need to change
Communicate the commitment to change and the process for achieving the change throughout the
Conduct an initial assessment to Identify the site’s present performance regarding the systems it
intends to implement
Develop a specific, long- range (3 - 5 year) implementation plan
Develop a short to mid-range action plan to address assessment findings
Develop specific roles and responsibilities for site personnel regarding the SHEQ program
Develop reference materials to guide site personnel in implementing the SHEQ program
Conduct orientation and introductory session for appropriate site managers
Train site coordinators
Train site managers
Conduct training for specialized activity coordinators of “Champions”
Conduct periodic assessments to identify the progress being made and to identify areas needing
Establish a system to monitor the site’s performance on a routine basis
Conduct ongoing training and communication
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.