Right-Sizing Organizations for Quality - Part 3

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Courtesy of Richard MacLean & Associates, LLC

Adequate staff resources are essential for achieving quality environment, health, and safety (EHS) programs. The technical challenges, internal coordination difficulties, public relations problems, and so on are rarely insurmountable—
if you have sufficient fiscal and human resources to effectively deal with the issues. Without a minimum critical mass of resources, you become consumed with day-to-day firefighting and never make progress. In the worst case, an issue can erupt into a full-blown crisis, putting the company at risk and your reputation and career on the line. Conservative risk managers, wanting to be on the “safe side,” would argue for substantial resource commitments. However, demands for rising profits, one of the primary drivers in a competitive marketplace, argue for limiting resources to the “bare bones.” How does the strategically thinking EHS manager determine the “right-sized” EHS resource level? What is the most efficient EHS organization structure? How is this resource level and organization justified to senior management? This is the last in a series of three articles. Part 1 provided guidance on how to determine the appropriate staffing and resource needs. Part 2 discussed how to organize these resources effectively. This article, Part 3, provides suggestions on how to make a convincing business case to management to implement the desired changes. The authors are senior-level EHS practitioners who have perfected these techniques by working with executive management. The methods are similar to those effectively employed by other functional disciplines to define and obtain resources. Written in the context of a corporate EHS group, these techniques can be modified and adapted to any functional level within a broad range of organizations. Whether you are an individual contributor or a manager, these articles can help you better understand resource issues.

The perfect plan is of no value if you are unable to obtain the resources necessary to move forward. One of senior management’s primary functions is to allocate resources. You may be convinced that the plan adds value, but the definitive test is, “Does it convince those who can approve the organizational change?”

As Harry Truman once said, “Leadership is the ability to get men [and women] to do what they don’t want to do and like it.” In this article we will discuss leadership techniques to gain support from business managers. Management may prefer to allocate the resources to more familiar, incomegenerating programs, but with the approaches recommended in this article, they will recognize the ultimate value of your recommendations to the company.


The final task before implementing your EHS plan is selling your proposal to senior management. Most of your
work has been done. You have already
• established a shared vision with senior management and obtained agreement on the EHS strategic direction
and goals;
• defined the programs and activities needed to achieve the vision and goals;
• used job mapping, zero-based matrix, or some other systematic approach to determine the resources required (i.e., “right-sized” the organization as if you were starting from the ground up); and
• assessed the organization’s ability, in numbers, tools, and capabilities, to achieve its new vision.

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