The importance of a checklist cannot be underscored enough. In fact, without sounding too melodramatic, it may mean life or death if the items on the checklist are not followed.
In actuality, the devising of a checklist was born from such a life and death situation.
On October 30, 1935, the Air Corps of the U.S. Army was testing a new fighting aircraft built by the Boeing Corporation. The model was named 299 or the Flying Fortress, Annex 13372. The test pilot chosen for the inaugural flight was a U.S. Army pilot and seasoned aviator by the name of Major Hill. The takeoff, from the runway, of this maiden voyage went without a hitch. However, right after takeoff this cutting-edge flying technology suddenly lurched upwards which caused the engines to stall and subsequently the aircraft crashed and burned. Four of the five crew members eventually perished as a result of this aviation disaster of the Flying Fortress.
Upon further investigation the Army came to the conclusion that the accident was caused because of human error. That costly error was due to the crew not disengaging the control gust locks.
As a direct result from this military aviation accident, a process was immediately implemented. Thus began the birth of the checklist.
Today, checklists are pervasive. They are important and are generally conducted with the smooth and safe operation of an object in mind. Checklists are used by mechanics to ensure the safe operation of vehicles, by surgeons and attending OR staff during operations and of course by personal doctors and medical personnel as part of routine checkups.
Therefore, in the operation of our businesses, are checklists any less important?
They maybe deemed as inconvenient, may bring about apprehension or perhaps even raise the specter of being weak or vulnerable. However, if neglected or delayed, may prove to be costly to the business owner, stakeholders, the business itself and customers.
Your business is a moving and dynamic organism and its continued success is dependent on its health through the meshing of other contributing parts. Consequently, being a moving and dynamic organism, those different parts and mechanisms of your organizational structure need to have various checkpoints or pause points as provided through checklists.
At With Purpose we can assist with this process. With our organizational development training and experience we can develop checklists and help implement recommendations. We also stand ready to work with leadership in revisiting or updating business plans, analysis of a company's customer service (both inwardly and outwardly), planning business retreats, etc.
Let us begin with checklist item #1 by reaching out to us to build our checklist strategy together.