Speed bumps

Listened to an excellent age of persuasion podcast titled “Caution: Speed Bumps. The Magical Ingredient in Marketing” Click here to listen.

Sometimes life seems to speeding past me and I want to hit a speed bump – just to temporarily slow myself down and catch small mistakes before they become big mistakes.

I love the David Lee Roth (Van Halen) example of a perfectly placed speed bump. I remember hearing this story when I was a kid except it was played out that Van Halen were over the top rock stars full of themselves. You see Van Halen demanded a bowl of M&M’s backstage, with no brown M & M’s in the bowl:  “with every single brown candy removed, upon pain of forfeiture of the show, with full compensation to the band.” One time they followed through.

The contract is full of very important issues – the strength of the stage, the quality of the wiring, and much more.  People could get hurt if the contract wasn’t fully read and checks weren’t  followed through. Roth noticed that some contractors weren’t taking the contract seriously so he placed the demand of the M & M’s in the middle of the contract.

Said Roth: “When I would walk backstage, if I saw a brown M&M in that bowl, well, we’d line check the entire production.  Guaranteed you’re going to arrive at a technical error…Guaranteed you’d run into a problem.” The mistakes could be life threatening.

I’m creating checklists right now and I realized that good checklist are hard to make. I read the book called “The Checklist Manifesto – how to get things right” by Atul Gawande”

It’s a fascinating read with a lot of examples of different kinds of checklists into so many different worlds – like construction building, flying planes, surgery, running a successful restaurant, etc… This book will change the way you see checklists.

Did you know that you have to decide if your checklist is a DO-CONFIRM or a READ-DO?

“With a DO-CONFIRM checklist, team members perform their jobs from memory and experience, often separately. But then they stop. They pause and run the checklist to confirm that everything that was supposed to be done was done.

With a READ-DO checklist, people carry out the tasks as they check them off – it’s more like a recipe. So for any new checklist created from scratch, you have to pick the type that makes the most sense for the situation.” (120)

I’m trying to find a balance so that my checklists aren’t  treating the people using it “as dumb and try to spell out every single step” (120). I don’t want the checklist to turn people’s brains off rather than turn them on. Right now, my checklist sound long winded.

I need a checklist to write a checklist. OY! I can hum and ha over these checklist but the real test will be when it’s “operational proof” as Julia Childs says. It’s all theory until you put it out into the real world. Checklists are not necessary static either. There is always room for improvement plus the world is always changing.