An Overview of Gawande’s Book
All types of professionals deal with complex tasks and thus need to simplify the steps taken to complete tasks. Gawande explains how an intensive-care specialist named Peter Pronovost designed a checklist with five simple steps to prevent a life-threatening infection. Pronovost realized that doctors skipped at least one step in more than 33% of the patients. He gave nurses the authority to stop physicians who skipped a step on the checklist. This simple solution produced amazing results because it prevented 43 infections and 8 deaths, and reduced costs by $2 million within 2 years. The checklist’s simple steps also made it possible to handle ICU patients with ease.
How to Design an Effective Checklist
- Create a Short Checklist
According to Gawande, an effective checklist has 5 to 10 items and a pause point. It allows the user to focus on the most important steps in order to solve complex problems. You should create several short checklists to solve specific problems instead of one long checklist for all problems.
- Design a Simple Checklist
The language you use to create your checklist should be easy to understand and precise. Gawande describes formatting as an important aspect of a checklist. Make sure your checklist is neat, concise, and simple. You should also avoid unnecessary colors and avoid writing more than one page. According to Boeing’s checklist expert Daniel Boorman, it’s advisable to use both uppercase and lowercase letters, and sans serif fonts like Helvetica. Boeing uses preflight checklists, emergency checklists, and takeoff checklists.
- Determine the Type of Checklist You Need
- READ-DO Checklists – These checklists are like recipes. Users check off checklist items as they complete tasks.
- DO-CONFIRM Checklists – Team members first complete tasks (separately) based on their experience. They stop to check the list to ensure that they have completed the tasks.
Using Checklists to Ensure Effective Communication
Complex projects can benefit from checklists in many different ways. For example, when constructing a building with many floors, a checklist can break down complex tasks into small tasks that can be ticked off upon completion. It’s also possible to use a checklist to solve problems and facilitate effective communication. Gawande noted that builders use checklists to avoid skipping simple steps, deal with unexpected issues, and facilitate communication between experts in order to solve problems. Building construction is a complex process, but Gawande realized that checklists can speed up the process.
Tools to Help You Get Started
The following tools will help you utilize checklists to improve business processes.
- Checklist – This app features a free plan, checklist templates, reminders, team management, schedules, and a strong community. There is a web, Android and iOS version.
- Tallyfy – This tool emphasizes teamwork and helps you automate business processes. It’s useful if you want to adopt the principles described in Gawande’s book.
- Manifest.ly – This is a useful tool if you want to promote teamwork and effective communication. Its impressive features include effective Slack integration and notifications.
In sum, checklists are useful tools in all industries and situations. Some of your business processes will definitely benefit from these tools. It’s evident that people who do complex jobs such as skyscraper builders, commercial airplane pilots, and cardiac surgeons can benefit from checklists in different ways. According to Gawande, checklists have the power to thwart failure.]]>