Use Checklists for Increased Success

The Checklist Manifesto was released in 2009 and has timeless insights to help you be more successful as you manage the complexities of life.
Checklists are used in aviation, construction, investing, medicine and many other professions and places where quality and consistency matters. Is there a place in your life for an effective checklist?
Effective checklists are efficient, to the point and practical. They should not be used in a rigid, “check-the-box” fashion. They enhance decision-making in a world that is growing increasingly complex. Checklists make priorities clearer and even help people function better as a team.
Tips for Great Checklists:

  • SIMPLE – a multi-page checklist is not useful. A checklist must be brief. The ideal is five to nine items. Focus on what’s most critical, not every detail.
  • CLEAR – in words and visually. Use language and terms that people understand. The checklist should fit on one page and be clutter free.
  • DC / RD – There is a difference between do-and-confirm (DC) versus read-and-do (RD.) This is a really helpful distinction to consider. Do-and-confirm items are about validating that something has been completed. Read-and-do items are action oriented tasks.

Checklists make priorities clearer and even help people function better as a team, especially when the unexpected occurs. Remember the Miracle on the Hudson? When Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and his crew on US Airways flight 1549 lost both of their engines over New York City, they had only three minutes to react. The first thing they did was to get out their checklists.
You can read more about checklists in The New Yorker article by Atul Gawande’s.

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