The POWER of Checklists—Cure for Chaos!
I have written before about the importance of checklists for bringing a business to order—but below are some statistics that might convince you that YOU TOO might look into using them, if you still don’t see their value. They could save your business—they did for mine!
Many of the budget-killing mistakes that risk customer loyalty can be dramatically reduced or eliminated by putting together simple checklists, and getting everyone to follow them. Ah, there's the rub, you say! How do you make systems work consistently?
We found the way!
Consider the following who have implemented checklists that have saved whole companies from disaster; they have saved money and time—even many lives.
Disturbed by the thousands of needless deaths in hospitals due to infections, renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital critical-care specialist Dr. Peter Pronovost put together a simple five-step checklist in 2001 for installing lines in the human body during care. Almost immediately, infection rates plummeted at Johns Hopkins. Sadly, Dr. Pronovost could not get hospitals interested, primarily because physicians felt they didn't need checklists to do their job. Sound familiar?
Finally, Dr. Pronovost got the State of Michigan to try his simple checklists in a handful of the worst hospitals in the country. Results? In December, 2006, the Keystone Initiative published its findings in a landmark article in The New England Journal of Medicine. Within the first three months of the project, the infection rate of Michigan ICUs decreased by 65 percent. In the Keystone Initiative's first 18 months the hospitals saved an estimated $175 million in costs and more than 1,500 lives.
Checklists inspired by the B-17 Bomber
Boeing almost went bankrupt when one of its top pilots crashed a newly-designed bomber, right in front of top military brass. Realizing their new generation of aircraft was too complicated for even the best pilots, Boeing created a simple checklist and proceeded to sell over 13,000 planes that flew over 1.8 million miles without a crash.
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.