Not the Cookie Cutter

A business is made up of systems. Systems for hiring, systems for quoting, systems for getting stuff done. ISO standards for quality management, environmental management, workplace health and safety, information security (and many others) have been designed to introduce best practice systems and processes into business.

Systems should enhance not slow

But sometimes these systems are seen as overbearing and unwieldy. Operational systems for quality management or workplace health and safety should enhance your business, not slow it down. Sometimes it takes time to get the system right.

All too often however I have seen the ‘cookie cutter’ approach, a copy and paste from another company, even another industry.

Small businesses don’t want to reinvent the wheel; they are often too busy and cash poor to dedicate the time and resources for a unique system. Larger businesses may have more resources, but they are often just as busy, and are working with systems that have been thrown together as the company grows!

Translate the Standard for your Business

Whatever the size of organisation these ISO standards still require translation to bring real benefit to the business. A structured way to approach this starts with a look at the Contents of your relevant ISO standard.

Ignoring for now the Introductory sections with references and definitions, gives us sections 4 to 10 to understand and interpret:

  • Context
  • Leadership
  • Planning
  • Support
  • Operation
  • Performance Evaluation
  • Improvement

Over the next few weeks, I will be exploring how to interpret these clauses, enabling you to design and implement processes and a management system that is optimum for your business.