Jump to content

Fundamentals of OE #3: Design your OE Program to Work for You


  • A common approach is to adopt a system from a leading company as the basis for your company’s system
  • The problem is that the things you cannot see are what make a Management System effective and compatible with your company’s values, culture and strategy
  • The investment in creating a custom system will yield long-term returns through greater effectiveness and improved organizational adoption

One of the most common stories we hear is “we started off by borrowing from existing popular systems such as ExxonMobil’s OIMS, Chevron’s OEMS, or the like. Most stories that begin this way end up with disappointment. This brings us to Fundamental #3: Design your own MS.  

This may sound painfully obvious, but it is one of the most common mistakes we encounter. Starting with another company’s framework and tweaking it to make it your own is about the same as starting with someone else’s tailored suit and trying to trim a little here and add a bit there to make it fit you. These systems work well for those companies because they were painstakingly developed over decades to meet their specific needs.

Top 3 reasons why you shouldn’t start with someone else’s system


Reason #1: What you see isn’t what makes it work 

Many companies are very open about their management system. Some make their framework and performance reports publicly available, which is great for investors and customers, but there is much more to the system that they don’t make public. This is the part that really matters. The visible parts like the framework elements mean relatively little to the ultimate effectiveness of the system.  A management system is only effective if it is built to work within a company’s culture, strategy and leadership style. Similarly, different level of maturity, level of understanding, and the makeup of the underlying tools and documents will yield very different results.   

Reason #2: Your needs may be different 

Benchmarking other systems is not harmful up until the point where it becomes the basis for your management system. Designing a management system for your organization should focus most of the attention on understanding the needs of your organization.

A disproportionate about of time should be spent looking internally to the following factors: 

  • Leadership style – command and control vs. distributed 
  • Strategy – level of risk tolerance, how often and substantially the strategy changes, the organization’s desired competitive advantages, level of desired strategic standardization 
  • Culture – current compatibility with a systematic management environment, cultural uniformity and variances 
  • Maturity – the maturity of current systems 
  • Level of Understanding and Use – how well the current systems are understood and used, the current perception of their effectiveness 
  • Documents, tools and processes – the formality of existing processes and current state of supporting documents and tools which could be used as building blocks for future systems


Reason #3: Adopting someone else’s system will sabotage internal adoption 

One of the most common reasons why “copy & paste” MSs fail is because the broader organization pushes back against it. Even if the system is perfectly suited for your needs, the organization will still reject it. It simply comes down to perception and involvement. The final answer isn’t as important as how you arrived at it.  

The most successful systems are built by the people they are intended for.


Where to begin 

Endeavor Management provides its clients a world-class Integrated Management System that can be tailored for their organizational needs and regulatory/industry requirements. We provide help understanding how the system will need to be set up to work for your needs. For more information on the Endeavor Management Integrated Management System, contact us and one of our Management System experts will guide you through the process. 


Previous Post:   “Fundamentals of OE #2: Agility”

Next Post:          “Fundamentals of OE #4: Process-Based Framework”

This post is an excerpt from the white paper “The Fundamentals for Transforming Your Organization Through Operational Excellence.” Download the complete white paper here.




Business Transformation, Energy and Industrials, Operational Effectiveness, Organizational and Team Effectiveness, Strategy Alignment and Implementation

Francisco Soto Director

Francisco Soto is a thought leader in the operational excellence space. He specializes in simplifying how his clients maximize the value of their strategy through a...

Jump To:

Contact Us