Monday, January 26th, 2015


I wish check lists were more helpful.  I wish Standard Practice Manuals worked too. Certainly a lot of time goes into them–writing, revising, jazzing them up a little, putting them on lines. Checklists can be good teaching tools, but maybe, I don’t really mean that.

The downside of Checklists is that they:

l.  Prescribe behavior and teach people to do ONLY what is on the list.      
    Opportunities are missed and corrective action isn’t taken.

2. Thinking is put on the back burner as the list is automatically followed.

3. People become numb to the list tacked on the backroom bulletin board  
    or the hospital door.  

4. Lists are too detailed and create a fatigue and an insult to people doing the
    detailed work.

5. There are too many lists–even lists of lists.

So?  Give them up?  No– research shows they help in terms of quality of performance. But don’t be blind to their overuse. The fatigue of too many, and the motivation- killing nature of most checklist approaches is deadening. Take them seriously and design them well or throw them all away and see what happens.  Most your people are trained by observing others performing live. So model well from the top and checklists aren’t needed.


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