BTAS..(I just coined this 🙂
…and maybe that is the reason that we do not recognize their potency.
Organizing our life is by far the easiest way to focus on activities that require our unilateral attention, be more efficient and achieve better ROI. This is easier said than done. Simply because we, humans are not psychologically built to appreciate things that are dull. We hate mundane tasks unless they are compelled by some outside expert in colorful terms like advertisement or recommendation or praise. We are taught that it is best to be the best….and to be the best in style. So we do not pay heed to things that are not advertised or flamboyant. Take for instance Checklists, which is an extremely efficient tool which everyone loves to hate.
Checklists are humble creatures that ensure things are done in a systematic way to give good quality results during times when we are under pressure and prone to errors. They take the Information gathering – Analysis – Solution Design – Execution cycle to a routine mundane level of doable actions. Some insights on these poor things.
Why checklists are not used as much as they should be?
- ·Because they are not exciting
- ·Because they hurt egos of people, as they point out at our ignorance or memory lapses or inconsistent behavior.
Biggest USPs of Checklists
- ·Get people on the same page
- ·Don’t hurt egos and yet get the job done in the right manner and with the right quality
- ·Best form of Knowledge management in an actionable form
- ·Inculcates a DNA of discipline and review in us, humans·
- Removes the most repeated cause of failure, lapse due to loss of memory & attention
ROI of Checklists
- ·Increase in Efficiency
- ·Increase in team work
- ·Increase in speed
- ·Improves consistency & Standardization
- ·Improves reliability
- ·Decrease in mistakes
Where checklists have worked
- ·Surgeries – Many many books written on this. The latest one by Dr. Atul Gawande, “The Checklist Manifesto – How to get things right”
- ·Flights – Many instances of the humble checklist significantly reducing the risk
· And many more areas
Ideal characteristics of a checklist
- ·Simple to understand and easy to follow
- ·Clarity in sequencing & Priority
- ·Practical & Action oriented
- ·Manageable & Focussed
- ·Balanced between Effectiveness & Brevity
- ·Size must fit the purpose – Small enough to carry in your hand
- ·Font size must be visible for operation
- ·Black letters in White sheets are advised
- ·Groups items as per their common attribute and make them in to sections
- ·Prioritize items as per importance or sequence
- ·At the end of a section, close the section with words like “Checklist of Sec A Completed”
- ·Duplicate mandatory items.
- ·Keep the number of items in the check list to 9 or less
- ·Avoid unclear, vague words·
- Use industry / technical terms for customizing lists
When Checklists will not work
- ·When not followed thoroughly
- ·When not understood properly
- ·When not updated to accommodate the latest realities
Types of checklist
- ·Read-Do = Read and do; This is a to-do list
- Do-Confirm= First Do and then confirm if it is done right; this is a reminder list
So closes a short write-up on everything you wanted to know about checklists.