STRUCTURE of management system elements - key to SUCCESS
To be effective, a management activity area or
"element" of a management system must be properly carried out.
Each of these activity areas must structured
to support implementation and improvement of the activities that are part of a management activity area. The
assumption is that the activities are essential to obtain the objective(s) of management activity area and the
overall management system. The structure of each element includes the improvement wheel - see at the end of this
page - as an ongoing process to improve element contribution to the overall management system. In the picture
below, I show this by the small circle or wheel that is also part of my logo.
The structure of management system elements as outlined below and further detailed in my
book has the advantage that each element of the management system has its own objective, activities
and improvement loop.
I introduced the concept of separate elements with their own specific objectives in
1993 when I was heading a small international team to develop a process industry version of the ISRS (International
Safety Rating System). This concept was not accepted by the company that I was working for at that time. I think,
however, that having separate objectives for each element has distinct advantages over not having them and just
having one objective for the whole management system:
it will have a much greater influence on the whole organization. Instead of one objective, you may have
as many of 10 or 20. So if you would have 15 elements or management activity areas in your management
system you will be able to improve the organization in each of these 15 areas.So instead of one
objective only - that of the management system - you have an extra 15 objectives and as many
If you have only one objective and not able to get there, it will be hard to determine why not. With 10
or 20 “sub objectives” you will be in a much better position to find the possible causes of not being
able to reach the overall system objective.
Structure of Management System Elements
The structure starts with a need assessment,
management statement and coordination, then goes to the establishment of the specific activities under the activity
area umbrella and ends with assessment of activities, evaluation of results and the periodic review and
The structure shall be present in each management activity area that is required to
reach management system objective(s). If your management system includes activity areas for which this structure is
not considered necessary it may indicate that the activity area is not important for the success of the management
 Need assessment and management
management communication regarding the reason(s) WHY the element is important and what objectives are expected.
Each management activity area shall have its own specific objective(s), different from the objective(s) of the
overall management system.
 Co-ordination of element
Assignment of element coordination to a team
consisting people from various levels, depending on the element subject. To be chaired by a person with sufficient
 Element standing plan
element plan should include the activities to reach the element objective(s): WHAT must be done, by WHOM and WHEN.
It shall also include training and instruction of people to establish criteria for the development and for the
execution of the activities. The element plan should be backed up by (separate) procedures or guidelines describing
HOW the activities shall be carried out, including tools and forms to be used.
[3.1] Review of legislation and standards
for minimum requirements
To establish minimum requirements for
element activities that are set by legislation, industry standards or applicable certification
[3.2] Additional element activities as
required by other sources
Additional element activities required by
sources other than mentioned under 3.1.
[3.3] Employee participation in
development of element activities
Participation of personnel from relevant
levels to develop criteria for execution of the identified element activities. Making use of available
expertise and experience and create "emotional ownership" to facilitate implementation of element activities.
Element development includes the HOW things need to be done, inlcuding tools, forms
The Principle of Emotional
People tend to be more willing to participate in planned change when
they have had an opportunity to participate and influence the process leading to
[3.4] Employee training to develop and
execute element activities
To include: (i) development of the element
activities, (ii) implementation of element activities, (iii) management of the activities to allow proper
stimulation of activity implementation by management and (iv) carrying out assessments of activities and
results and the preparation of improvement plans.
[3.5] Employee participation in executing
To include relevant personnel in the
implementation/execution of the specific activities as well as in the possible improvement thereof.
[3.6] Communication needs to internal and
Collection and analysis of relevant data
for communication to stakeholders and interest groups.
[3.7] Periodic element plan
Periodic assessments to establish whether:
(i) element activities are being carried out as intended and (ii) element results obtained as
 Review and
Periodic review by top management to evaluate
activities carried out and results obtained against objectives set. Per element as well as concerning the overall
The Improvement Wheel
The improvement cycle reflected
by the suggested element structure is visualized by the "Improvement Wheel" where the standing plan is the axle
driven by the engine build around it. The engine is fuelled by management leadership.
The generic structure can be seen as an extension of the
Deming circle PDCA (Plan - Do - Check - Act) as well as an application of the Platform Model that I use to demonstrate the main ingredients for success.
Both the structure and the improvement wheel contain elements of the 17-step process that I described for management system building and
Here is an example of the structure of management system elements
where the layout a safety management system for high hazardous industry is indicated. Please note that the
structure application is adapted to specific elements. Most important is that the evaluation (called "program
monitoring") and review/improvement aspects are included in all elements.