ISO Standards

Keeping Your Management System Simple – Blog Four: Complexity & Language

October 18, 2021

Welcome to our fourth blog in this series of Keeping Your Management System Simple. If you missed our previous blogs, do not worry. You can catch up here!

In this edition, we will be looking into Complexity & Language.

·       No need to write like a Standard. Use language that will be recognised

o  Consider a Glossary but after that, steer clear of ISO speak!

o  Consider a central document that cross-references each clause against how to address it.

o  We very much advocate applying a Process approach to Management Systems. By this we mean, writing a System around your business and not trying to structure the Management System around the clauses of the Standard. Doing this will only ever create a hard to follow document that shows little relation to your business.  

o  Show that as a business, you're compliant in a 'We Do This' approach - after that, you do not need to mention clauses or use the terminology from the standards.

·       Use diagrams

o  Try and avoid writing pages and pages of procedures unless it is necessary.

o  Diagrams are an excellent way of communicating information efficiently and effectively.

o  By this, I do not mean the old Demy cycle of PDCA that we see everywhere. I mean schematics, flowcharts, infographics, or even a video to show how things are carried out in a way that can be easily communicated and understood.

o  Use Images – particularly in audits

·       Do the hard work at the start

o  If you get the Management System right, it will be much easier to maintain and improve on at the start.

o  When we speak to new clients, their focus (and budget) is always passing the first audit. But people forget that they will be audited year on year, and if the System is not reflective of the organisation, you will forever be trying to get a square peg into a round hole.

·       Involve everyone but only share what is relevant

o  Utilise induction processes to communicate the entire IMS.

o  Avoid overwhelming people with too much information.

o  Most people are proud of their work in a business and happy to talk about it and share. However, they are not comfortable when asked about areas that are not relevant to them.

·       Don't try and make a procedure for everything

o  Meet desired outcomes.

o  Do not stifle individuality because that is what stops development.

o  Capture the key steps that can affect risk.

o  Use diagrams, video etc., not just text.

o  Not to say that guidance documents cannot support them.

·       Be able to accommodate future growth of the organisation

o  An overly complicated System is hard to keep up to date.

o  Use a System that is easy to be proactive.

o  If the System is slow to change, it becomes less and less effective.

o  Do not be afraid to raise an issue against the procedure if it's wrong. Rather than it is not being followed correctly, this is how things improve.

·       Consider influence & risk – it should not put you out of business

o  If you cannot do your job because of your Management System, then something is wrong.

Our Top Tip – write your System in relevant language that will be readily understood across your organisation.

Our next blog in this series will be looking at Availability. Please follow us on LinkedIn to know when this is published.

Can't wait for the next blog? Follow this link to watch the entire webinar Keeping Your Management System Simple- YouTube

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