Check(list) please!

Checklists are critical tools for operations.  In refining a system, the checklist makes it easy to identify poor performing tasks.  They are also great in service, helping enable more consistent experiences for customers.  Managers need checklists for leadership.  With all the information known on effective management, it is easy to let a technique drop.  Also, management improvement is typically a process, and a checklist both marks progress and lets managers work more efficiently.

The personal checklist is also advantageous.  Too often, however, the personal checklist is mistaken for a to-do list.  A checklist differs because it is not a litany of disassociated chores.  Rather, it is mechanism for completing a task with multiple, integrated steps, that can be used again and again for that task.  As individuals set goals, a checklist may seem out of place.  But goals should be repeatable.  Achievement should never be looked at as a once in a lifetime event.  So, a carefully crafted (and perhaps often revised) checklist can actually help you reach your goals.

The value of constructing a checklist for a process you have never attempted before is that it begets the critical thinking that is often overlooked when starting something new.  Clearly, it aids in seeing obstacles, but it also dramatically constructs pathways for dealing with those obstacles as they arrive.  A checklist is the stairway to your vision.