Write blog – tick!
19th Sep 2018 | Laura Shaw
The summer holidays are over and I have drawn a line through the last item on my ‘to do before school starts list’, although I have to admit cutting it rather fine on the ‘buying the kids new school shoes’ item!
I love a list, many people do, getting a little rush of endorphins by simply crossing out an item. When I am writing a list I will sometimes include things I have already done, just to get me started. Item one on list – ‘Write to-do list’; tick!
Lists can be so important in all walks of life especially where we have so many demands on our time, our work is often interrupted by telephone calls, or emails distracting us from what we set out to do. My activity list on my CRM is my daily to do list and I couldn’t do without it. And if I get to the magic, 0 activities remaining, it feels really good.
But lists can also change lives. Here, I am talking about checklists. Atul Gawande, the surgeon, author and researcher brought out a fabulous book in 2010 called ‘The Checklist Manifesto – How to get things right’. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone working in medical or care settings. It is chock full of examples of situations where a simple list can save a life, or prevent catastrophic failure whether it be amputating the wrong leg or preventing a plane crash.
But checklists can be fantastically useful in almost every other industry too. In any situation where, the quality of your product or service relies on your team members following a set process, can be improved by having a checklist to follow. Whether it be; answering the telephone; cleaning the rest rooms; performing an operation; cooking a meal; discharging a patient; discussing a product or service; performing a safety check on an item of machinery, the team should know the set process by which to do this but having a checklist available will help to ensure the process is followed consistently.
Sometimes, for certification purposes you need a checklist for each occasion the process is performed. Something which can be physically ticked and signed as a certification of the process. But often, simply having the list displayed in a prominent position will allow team members to mentally check through the process.
How and where to display your lists is an important consideration. They need to be accessible everywhere the process will take place and always up to date. Many businesses use laminated sheets and this can be very useful, especially when you have a new machine or are in an inaccessible part of the building. But there are a limit to the number of sheets you can have stuck around and they are in danger of becoming out of date and scruffy. In this increasingly digital age, having your lists in digital form is a much better idea. Training-Progress has a ‘Hotlinks’ feature which allows quick reference to information such as checklists from any device, anywhere. Be it in reception; at your desk; patient side; on a site visit; a list can be called up and utilised. It also means that when the process in the list is changed you do not need to do a whole new round of printing and laminating! Ensuring every list is always right up to date.
As with all processes, checklists should be constantly under review; Training-Progress instigates an annual review of Hotlink content, so you can be sure that the checklist processes are kept up to date.
The late H. Allen Smith, American journalist and humourist wrote ‘The human differs from the lesser primates in his passion for lists’. I am sure we have a lot to learn from our cousins in the great ape family but while life is so busy I think I will stick to my lists.
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