Management Systems

A Powerful Control Structure Leading to Continual Improvement or

A Wasteful Bureaucracy


Implementation of a management system can lead to continual improvement or waste.

What determines the difference? It is the thinking of the organization and most importantly the leadership. Number one is their understanding of systems - their systems thinking capability. Second, also related is the motivation to implement or improve the management system. When leadership begins to question current and past efforts to address chronic long term problems - there is an opportunity to make fundamental changes in the organization. On the other hand, when management system initiatives, including certification are imposed by a customer or external body the result is often creating a “paper program'“ with binders full of crap that is ignored by the organization.

Binders full of crap that the organization ignores is not a management system

Binders full of crap that the organization ignores is not a management system

What is a management system?

While the focus of this web site is workplace health and safety, no distinction is made between various management system areas. The principles, thinking and approaches covered apply universally to all management system, whether health and safety, asset management, environment, security, quality, etc.

A management system is, at its best, a powerful tool that leadership provides for all employees, consisting of multiple integrated processes and feedback loops. It maximizes the use of the organization’s resources and leads to continual improvement.


Traditional gap analysis is very dangerous. The elements and requirements of a standard are listed and It is based on the invalid assumption that if all the parts (in this case system elements) are present the system will function effectively.