Why do we need a checklist to stop stupid mistakes? Why can’t we just be less stupid?
When a stupid mistake happens, it is often because a person didn’t remember something simple.
- Delivery crew forgot to take the right equipment to the job.
- Someone forgot to do the computer backup.
- Took a trip to the warehouse but forgot the keys.
The easy part of fixing the mistakes is to create a checklist, the tough part is to get people to actually use it! A checklist removes the need to think about the routine, and frees your brain to think about smarter things!
The key is how you design the implementation. The checklist needs to be as simple and usable as possible.
For example, instead of giving the delivery crew the checklist, put it on a clipboard, attach a pen to it that can’t be removed and place it on the windshield of the delivery van every morning.
Or put the computer backup checklist on the front of the coffee maker. It probably takes the same amount of time to do the backup as it takes for the coffee to be ready.
Creating simple and usable checklists is a little thing. Having the crew sitting idle at the job site due to a stupid mistake is a big thing.