When The Checklist Fails

My husband is a doctor, a pediatrician actually. After reading “The Checklist Manifesto,” I was excited to discuss checklists from his perspective. I was now a believer and ready to implement this concept into every aspect of the ministry I led. I knew that he has spent large portions of his career running through checklists that save lives. I didn’t expect the curveball he threw my way. With a sly smile, he asked: “But what do you do when the checklist fails?” He went on to share a case that occurred during his residency when he was an Angel Flight...

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Two Types of Checklists: Do-Confirm

In my last post, I mentioned the two types of checklists: Read-Do Do-Confirm Following specific pause points (click here to understand what pause points are), one of the above checklists follows. Where the Read-Do checklist operates by following specific steps (usually in order), like a recipe or assembly instructions, a Do-Confirm checklist is the opposite. You simply perform a task, something that you already know how to do or where steps are fairly obvious, and the checklist is read at a specific point to ensure that every step was followed or to ensure that nothing was forgotten. The Do-Confirm...

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Two Types of Checklist: Read-Do

Yesterday, we introduced the concept of the pause point. A term borrowed from the airline industry, pause points determine when checklists are run. Related specifically to pause points, two different types of checklists exists. These checklists are either: Read-Do Checklist Do-Confirm Checklist So, when you’re creating a new checklist for your ministry you should follow these steps (see, even this blog post is a checklist): Define a pause point Determine if the list following the pause point is Read-Do or Read-Confirm   For the purpose of this post, I’d like to spend some time unpacking specific ministry moments (pause...

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Checklists: Timing is Everything

When it comes to checklists, timing is everything. Knowing when to use the checklist matters almost as much as using it at all. Every checklist needs a pause point (or multiple pause points), a specific time when the checklist is supposed to be run. Sometimes the checklist needs specific instructions on when the checklist is supposed to be run and at other times, pause points are obvious. In the book “The Checklist Manifesto,” the author, an accomplished surgeon, was tasked by the World Health Organization to develop a system to save lives in field surgery centers in developing countries....

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What Makes a Good Checklist

We’ve written a lot about checklists. We’ve explored why checklists are important, how they work and what their implementation in ministry can actually look like. However, it’s important to look into the anatomy of a checklist. A great deal of research has gone into checklists and every checklist are by no means equals. There are good checklists and there are bad checklists. Let’s take a look at the differences between good and bad checklists. The following items make checklists bad: They are vague They are too hard to use They are too long They are impractical Checklists that try...

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Don’t Skip the Checklist

If you’re going to use a checklist, commit to the checklist. Choosing not to use it can undo all the efforts you’ve worked so hard to establish. Not using the established checklist can sometimes be the result of having the best of intentions. However, deviating from an established process, regardless your intentions, could be putting your work or even your organization at risk. This exact situation happened a few years ago in regard to her visit at a emergency medical center. A failure to follow a checklist put her life in jeopardy.  My wife, Sara has several food allergies....

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One Checklist Could Change Everything

If you’re a parent, you’re thankful for Virginia Apgar, a woman you never met. Virginia Apgar was a doctor from the 1950’s who very name has saved the lives of thousands (maybe millions) of infants over the past 6 or 7 decades. When we think of legacy and making the kind of impact that long outlives us, there are few greater examples than Dr. Apgar. And what is this legacy that she provided that has so impacted humanity? I’m so glad you asked. Dr. Apgar created a simple checklist when no one thought one was needed. This simple, five...

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Preparation First – Delegation Second

I remember something really embarrassing. I got an email from a parent who offered to come in and help in the office during the week. Her kids were in school and she wanted to serve by giving some of her time during the week. I was elated. There was far too much work for me to do on my own and the extra help would be greatly appreciated! However, as time went on, I started to panic. I didn’t know what to give her to do. As I looked through my lists of tasks, there weren’t very many things...

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Passing the Baton

So, you have some checklists. Your welcome. You have volunteers who can do more than you’ve asked of them in the past. With the checklists, you’re ready to take your ministry to a new level. All you have to do now is simply hand over tasks. You need to sit down with your key volunteers. It’s time to release part of your responsibilities and hand them off – to a volunteer. Does this make your heart beat a little faster? What if the job doesn’t get done just like you like it? What if they don’t follow the checklist? What...

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Checklists > Job Descriptions

If you’re really serious about recruiting volunteers, you have probably created job descriptions for available volunteer positions. Specificity always trumps generalities. We can recruit people to work in the children’s ministry, but people tend to use their own imagination of what that might look like and opt out of what they sense to be a coming disaster. We’ll always be more successful when we recruit to a specific role. People want to feel good about making a difference, but what the really want to know is what it is they will be doing… specifically. This is where job descriptions...

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