How to Increase Management Participation in Your Management System

management participationThis applies to all standards (ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001, ISO 17025, IATF 16949, AS9100, ISO 13485, ISO 27001…)

  • Has your Management System become a One person show?
  • Does Management struggle during audits when asked questions about the management system?
  • Do you feel that the support for activities is not there as intended in the standard?

Why does this occur?

There can be many reasons that this occurs, and sometimes it is partially the fault of the management rep. If you are taking care of the auditors and audits all by yourself, updating documents for processes where you are not the owner, and creating records necessary to pass audits, this may indicate that you have taken too much control.
(I can personally relate to this!)

While the Management Representative for the Management System will most likely need to support all processes with knowledge of the standard, they need to let (And encourage) the Process owner dictate the processes. They also need to be less concerned when there are nonconformances identified in audits due to issues with different processes having issues – this just allows for the re-evaluation and improvement to occur. (This can be difficult to those of us that like to be in control to achieve)

Other times it can come from management system staff struggling to present information in the language best understood by upper management (This is where accounting training can help)

Things to try:

Good place to start would be with a thorough internal audit by a competent and independent auditor (This could be a resource like Management Solutions Group). This audit would include interviewing process owners and more in-depth assessment of the system and the implementation. This information would arm the organization with the knowledge of the best areas to focus on first.

Focus on moving to more of an expert resource to support but not dictate processes / details with process owners. (Think like an exceptional Coach)

Ensure that internal and external auditors are interviewing the process owners and staff responsible for the process activities. This can cause a little more interruption of work but leads to more ownership and a better reflection of the organization’s real management system performance.

We need to support management in developing, owning, and improving their processes, and help them see how they affect other areas of the organization and the requirements. We can facilitation this with tools like Turtle Diagrams and SIPOC’s.

This may require new or improved skills on our part as well (Which can also drive our own goals and provide additional career opportunities in the future), such as deeper understanding of Key Performance Measures, Project Management and Accounting. (You might ask: Why Accounting… Most high level managers think in accounting terms best, so when we can present information in this way, it makes sense more quickly)

Good Management System Professional skills not always considered:
  • Performance metric expertise
  • Understanding of the true minimum standard requirements
  • Accounting / Financial skills
  • Project Management skills
  • Coaching skills
This change in approach can be more challenging as there will be questions on requirements that may require developing a deeper understanding of the requirements in the standards and looking for different ways to satisfy the needs of the process owners.

We may also need to let them fail (Not so much fail, but receive nonconformances) in audits. Then we can support the process owners with their corrective actions which can result in improved systems.


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