Why we love Checklists

Do you know the situation? A briefing with the client is scheduled for tomorrow and you are thinking about how the briefing should proceed, what questions you should ask and what content needs to be clarified so that the project can be completed smoothly, on time and successfully. This is not the first and not the last briefing. But every time you are thinking about the same things.
In every company we have countless, repetitive processes and procedures. From projects to employee or customer onboarding.

By repeatedly thinking about processes that we carry out on a regular basis, we lose a lot of time and energy, i.e. important resources that we could use more efficiently for other activities.

Checklists make it possible!

As pilots we are used to working with checklists. Checklists are an indispensable part of our everyday flying life. A pre-flight check without a checklist? Unthinkable! Starting an aircraft without a checklist? The risk is too high, that something could be overlooked and go wrong. Managing emergency situations? Without a mental checklist it is not possible!

For us pilots, the structured procedure according to checklists is part of the daily routine – there are checklists for every phase of a flight. Every action must be carried out correctly at the right time and in the right order. By working through the checklists in a structured manner, we ensure that nothing is forgotten and avoid unnecessary stress and mistakes. In the cockpit as well as when preparing for a flight, checklists serve as mental guidelines. They provide safety, have the pilot’s back, increase capacity and help to focus on the essential – navigation. Regardless of a pilot’s performance record or experience, checklists are a crucial tool in the cockpit.

For a company, checklists mean continuous improvement, also in terms of self-leadership and time management. The initial effort to identify and formalize recurring processes can be considerable. In the long term, however, it is a great opportunity to rationalise and continuously improve the work and enables more efficient and effective work.

However, a checklist is only efficient if it is checked at regular intervals to ensure that it is up-to-date, that it is simple and clearly formulated and that it is accessible to everyone. This requires that “continuous improvement” is anchored and practiced as a mindset by the entire workforce. We recommend the involvement of all employees who take part in the process, as this consolidates all knowledge and increases identification and responsibility for the checklist. This will initially cost more time and money. But this way, everyone is involved and the probability that all factors and steps are included increases.

If you would like to learn more about the use and integration of checklists and continuous improvement, contact us at info@clearedtoland.ch.