People: Empowerment Through Management Systems

Generally, we are not inclined to welcome the introduction of formal management systems. We have visions of increased bureaucracy and paperwork. We may also fear the more focused accountability imposed by formal systems.

Organizations already afflicted with old sets of procedures, measured by the foot (metre) or pound (kilogram), often have a different problem. Here, everyone knows that the procedures are not accurate and any new edict to comply with them is unlikely to improve anything. Such edicts do not inspire the people to use the system.

Leaders allay these fears by involving teams in design of their system and are prepared to trash the old procedures. Leaders show their commitment by involving themselves in developing, using and improving the system. Some key processes (such as strategic planning) belong to senior management. Such processes are, not surprisingly, ignored in some audit standards originated for contracts such as ISO 9001. Management reviews could correct this.

Your organization may have a department said to be responsible for quality, safety, security, regulatory affairs or the environment. If you earn your livelihood in these departments you may also have concerns and fears. Will you (and fellow professionals) resist the temptation to ‘protect yourselves’ through several more narrowly defined specialist sets of policies, procedures and instructions (not really systems) to cement your roles and to tell people what they shall do?

Great benefits and value come from deploying responsibility for defining and meeting all needs with integrated enterprise systems. Great leaders will take these opportunities by changing or replacing any internal command and control watchdogs to instigators of preventive action through the system.

Well-designed enterprise systems can enable workers at all levels to design, control and renew or improve their processes so they deliver quality, safely and responsibly, and so all of the other needs are also met. With great leadership and a dynamic system, all of us can be trained and trusted (empowered) to meet requirements for you to enjoy your work as much as we do.

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