What is it about?
There’s a instrument to decrease deaths rates and infection rates in hospitals significantly. It costs near to nothing. It’s a checklist. Atul Gawande, who is a cancer surgeon, talks about introducing checklists in the medical sector.
What can I learn?
Simple and critical: There’s a lot of research on checklists predominately for aircrafts. These researchers found in over 30 years research that checklists have to be simple and critical. They shouldn’t be detailed instructions. The aim of checklists is to remind the users of critical actions. Like closing the cargo hold on an aircraft or disinfect the working area on a human body before surgery.
Test it: Nobody can think of everything, therefore testing is necessary. Observe your checklists in action and try to improve them. If you checklist is too long, only a few people will use it. If they don’t understand how your checklist will improve anything, they won’t use it. Observe and improve.
Empowering people and discipline: Checklist aren’t about bureaucracy. They empower people and make them more disciplined. You help the practitioners to improve their work.
The Checklist Manifesto is terrific. The stories are thrilling and he got great story telling skills. You can feel how checklists improved their lives and lives of others. Furthermore, it’s pretty short and concise. A similar book on checklists in business is The E-Myth. Recommendation!
What is it about?
Michael E. Gerber reveals an important fallacy of being an entrepreneur. He thinks that most entrepreneurs are technicians (e.g. engineers, copy writers, biologists) who think that they just have to do the work they’ve done before as employees.
You should work on your business, not in it: The problem, so Michael Gerber, is that most new entrepreneurs just do their old job. This mostly leads to exhaustion and too much time working. The solution is to work on your business, i.e. building a business model which could be replicated even without you.
Establish a culture: The first thing to do is to find your biggest aim. What do you want to do? What should your business do? It’s about building a culture which lives in every employee and every product.
Make yourself futile: Before you hire people you should try to document as much as possible. Start out with your organization chart (yes, even for solo founders) and define what each position have to do. You could build checklists with each step that has to be done. Eventually, you built a documentation system, which allows you to run the business without you.
Hire open and inexperienced people: You could hire some experienced managers or technicians but they maybe too expensive. Rather aim for open and inexperienced people. They will rather accept your culture and learn how to do things by your company manual.
Test, Test, Test: If you documentation leads to garbage your employees will deliver garbage. You have to test as much as possible to achieve the highest success. What should your employees wear? How should they welcome people? To whom should they sell? Try to find the best solution. Though, the world isn’t fixed. You/your employees have to test new methods and update the manual if these new methods are more successful.
I would call me a non-bureaucracy guy but I’m kind of falling in love with the concept of scaling businesses. It’s about the simplicity of using checklists instead of 1500 pages forms ;). Seriously, this methods allows even disorganized people to work in a business and deliver constant results. Furthermore, he wrote the book as a conversation with a woman who runs a small bakery, which helps to learn the main points of his book. Lovely!