The New York Times bestselling author of Better and Complications reveals the surprising power of the ordinary checklist We live in a world of great and increasing complexity, where even the most expert professionals struggle to master the tasks they face. Longer training, ever more advanced... read more
The word "checklists" just sounds boring and dull, but Gawande does a wonderful job of showing how powerful they are. Using illustrations from the medical field and various other professional applications, the author demonstrates quite powerfully that checklists can not only prove to be the... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
The word "checklists" just sounds boring and dull, but Gawande does a wonderful job of showing how powerful they are. Using illustrations from the medical field and various other professional applications, the author demonstrates quite powerfully that checklists can not only prove to be the difference between profit and loss in your organization, but literally between life and death.
“In the money business everyone looks for an edge. If someone is doing well, people pounce like starved hyenas to find out how. Almost every idea for making even slightly more money ... gets sucked up by the giant maw almost instantly. Every idea, that is except one: checklists.”
“Getting the steps right is hard, even if you know them.”
the volume and complexity of what we know has exceeded our individual ability to deliver its benefits correctly, safely, or reliably. Knowledge has both saved us and burdened us.Highlighted by 256 Kindle customers
The checklist cannot be lengthy. A rule of thumb some use is to keep it to between five and nine items, which is the limit of working memory.Highlighted by 254 Kindle customers
Good checklists, on the other hand, are precise. They are efficient, to the point, and easy to use even in the most difficult situations. They do not try to spell out everything—a checklist cannot fly a plane. Instead, they provide reminders of only the most critical and important steps—the ones that even the highly skilled professionals using them could miss. Good checklists are, above all, practical.Highlighted by 251 Kindle customers
No, the real lesson is that under conditions of true complexity—where the knowledge required exceeds that of any individual and unpredictability reigns—efforts to dictate every step from the center will fail. People need room to act and adapt. Yet they cannot succeed as isolated individuals, either—that is anarchy. Instead, they require a seemingly contradictory mix of freedom and expectation—expectation to coordinate, for example, and also to measure progress toward common goals.Highlighted by 223 Kindle customers
The philosophy is that you push the power of decision making out to the periphery and away from the center. You give people the room to adapt, based on their experience and expertise. All you ask is that they talk to one another and take responsibility. That is what works.Highlighted by 214 Kindle customers
The wording should be simple and exact, Boorman went on, and use the familiar language of the profession. Even the look of the checklist matters. Ideally, it should fit on one page. It should be free of clutter and unnecessary colors. It should use both uppercase and lowercase text for ease of reading. (He went so far as to recommend using a sans serif type like Helvetica.)Highlighted by 199 Kindle customers
The second type of failure the philosophers call ineptitude—because in these instances the knowledge exists, yet we fail to apply it correctly.Highlighted by 199 Kindle customers
under conditions of complexity, not only are checklists a help, they are required for success. There must always be room for judgment, but judgment aided—and even enhanced—by procedure.Highlighted by 182 Kindle customers
That routine requires balancing a number of virtues: freedom and discipline, craft and protocol, specialized ability and group collaboration. And for checklists to help achieve that balance, they have to take two almost opposing forms. They supply a set of checks to ensure the stupid but critical stuff is not overlooked, and they supply another set of checks to ensure people talk and coordinate and accept responsibility while nonetheless being left the power to manage the nuances and unpredictabilities the best they know how.Highlighted by 172 Kindle customers
Checklists seem to provide protection against such failures. They remind us of the minimum necessary steps and make them explicit. They not only offer the possibility of verification but also instill a kind of discipline of higher performance.Highlighted by 166 Kindle customers
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