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Checklist Manifesto

HBR Ideacast

I am newly inspired by an HBR Idea Cast interviewing Dr. Atul Gawande on his book The Checklist Manifesto. This 15 minute Idea Cast is amongst the best I’ve ever heard and has inspired me to read this book. A couple of concepts that I really enjoyed hearing about:

  • In extremely complex situations checklists can solve many problems
  • The working world is deep expertise in based in teams
  • The volume of knowledge exceeds what one expert can provide
  • Don’t turn complex situations into cookbooks, focus in on crucial items
  • Create pause points where you can check in
  • Allow people to create scripts to follow and share, not recipes
  • Have people think about ways things go wrong, and are they prepared for them
  • In fields where we think expertise and experience are enough, running up against limits of what we can do (example of lawyers) large volumes of knowledge and we’re making basic mistakes
  • We are fundamentally fallible and make mistakes
  • In situations of complexity, understand where power should lie – it’s not command and control
  • In situations of complexity (i.e., Hurricane Katrina) give power to the peripheries and focus on communication from peripheries to HQ and out again to quickly spread good protocols and ideas (example of Walmart in Katrina)
  • Example of VCs and how they make their decisions – different styles of decision making – gut decisions vs. analytical VCs (used checklists). Checklists VCs have higher success rate.
  • Goes against our idea of what expertise is suppose to be.

Can’t wait to get it so I can review it in fuller detail.

Posted in book reviews, business.

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One Response

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  1. Lane Parker says

    I’m definitely a proponent of checklists, especially for troubleshooting systems and disaster recovery/business continuity but my favorite checklist is the one I put together to prepare for travel. It became a necessity when I kept forgetting critical items.

    At Seagate we had some great checklists created using MindManager for our Six Sigma projects as well as non-SS projects.

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