Monday, February 13, 2012

You See What You Think About...Checklists Revisited

Tell me what you think about. Tell me what you focus upon. I will tell you what you are likely to see in your environment. That thought can, and has been, the topic of books.

In August 2010, I posted this on the topic of checklists, and the idea seemed to resonate with readers. Since that time, it seems like the topic of checklists and their usefulness keeps coming back in material I read. One example is an article in Reader's Digest. In an article entitled "White Coat Confessions," Dr. Peter Pronovost writes:

"Many medical errors occur because hospitals lack standardized checklists for common procedures designed to minimize the chance of bad judgment. Airline pilots and NASCAR teams have them--why don't doctors? I think it's partly because it's so important to us to believe in the myth that doctors are perfect."

Those words sound like something right out of The Checklist Manifesto. But just as this doctor has looked at the need for checklists through the lens of his own profession, most any of us in any of our professions could point to errors which happen for lack of a checklist. In the words of Mark Twain, "No one is smart enough to remember all that he knows." Not a bad observation about his own life and time. Not a bad observation about the "Information Age" either.

Does anyone have a favorite checklist you would like to share?
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