[May 14, 2018] Most of us associate checklists with pilots getting ready for takeoff or with home inspectors going through a house to verify it is ready for occupancy. Leaders also use checklists and they do so as a matter of course; one that is customized to their needs and a necessary part of their toolbox.
“The checklist is one of the most high powered productivity tools ever discovered.” – Brian Tracy, Canadian-American motivational public speaker
Checklists are a crucial fit in the leadership toolbox. It affords us with a specific, item-by-item list of things that must be done before, during, and after a task has been assigned. Such a list must be specific, simple enough to ensure its effectiveness if used properly, and updated.
Good checklists are efficient, to the point, and easy to use even in the most difficult situations. They don’t spell out every step but provide reminders of the most critical and important steps that could be missed. They are, above all, practical.
It may be a stereotype but our military leaders make extensive use of a variety of checklists. As readers of this blog know, I’m retired military. The other day I was going through some of my things and I found my combat helmet that I had used while in the Iraq War. Stuck inside were two checklists I had used on a daily basis, as one of the senior Coalition Engineers back in 2006-07.
As you would expect, the U.S. Army has hundreds of checklists depending on the situation. Several that are really good are contained in their most recent “Leader Handbook” and can be found in PDF format (see link). Just search under the word “checklist” and several popups provide good examples.
A couple of years ago I wrote on this blog that leaders always want to be on top of their game, focused, and fully proficient in duty performance. To do so, I suggested at the time that it might be a good idea to check out the Standing Rules of Rogers’ Rangers. These “rules” are a checklist of key leader tasks.
Leaders, be sure you create and use checklists in what you do. There will be a time you forget something and the use of these lists will prevent that from happening.
[Note:] I have a small mini-series on Leadership Toolboxes here at theLeaderMaker.com.
- The Standup Meeting – http://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-the-standup-meeting/
- The SWOT Analysis – http://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-swot-analysis/
- The Planning Cell – http://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-planning-cell/
- Investigations – http://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-investigations/
- The Stand-down – http://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-stand/
- Rehearsals – http://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-rehearsals/
- After-Action Reviews – http://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-action-reviews/
- Terms of Reference – http://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-terms-reference/
- Leadership Conferences – http://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-leader-conferences/
- Targeted Indicators – http://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-indicators/
- Keeping Things Simple – http://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-keeping-things-simple/
- Leader Courses – http://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-leader-courses/
- Email and Texting – http://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-email-and-texting/
- Awards – http://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-awards/
- Personal Coaching – http://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-personal-coaching/
- Formal Evaluations – http://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-formal-evaluations/