Checklists are not unique in bringing a business to order and perhaps nothing
new to my fellow entrepreneurs. Yet, many of my soulful entrepreneur clients
initially and sometimes consistently resist using them and often work much
harder than necessary. Many mistakes can be dramatically reduced or
eliminated, by putting together simple checklists and using them.
“Really?!?!?” you say. Yes, in my business checklists are essential in making
sure the projects are completed and the details are not overlooked, and that we
all have the “directions" needed to succeed.
We’re not alone. Consider the following who have implemented checklists that
have saved lives, avoided disasters and gotten more accomplished.
Renowned John Hopkins Hospital critical-care specialist, Dr. Peter Pronovost,
put together a simple five-step checklist in 2001 for installing lines in the human
body during care. Almost immediately, infection rates plummeted at John
Hopkins. He shared the results and the checklist with a handful of the worst
hospitals in the Country and within the first three months of the program in
Michigan the infection rate of Michigan ICUs decreased by 65%.
Boeing almost went bankrupt when one of their top pilots crashed a newly-
designed bomber right in front of top military brass. Realizing their new
generation of aircraft was too complicated for even the best pilots, Boeing
created a simple checklist and proceeded to sell over 13,000 planes that flew
over 1.8 million miles without a crash.
Your turn, time to download what's in your head and create some checklists.
YOU are the expert on your business! You know how it works, and the processes
that have brought you THIS far! But, unless your company is staffed by
mind-readers (or you plan for it to be when you hire), you are a slave to your
business every day, so long as others are not EMPOWERED and EQUIPPED
to take charge of their area, their assignments, without your constant input.
Your freedom comes from downloading how you do what you do, and creating
When I work one-on-one with a client who is ready to hire a team member
or two, we begin by creating a checklist system for all the processes in their
business that need to be performed in a consistent manner (i. e. setting up a
new customer, processing an order, social media marketing, etc. ). How your
individual business operates (all the business of your business) will remain in
your head if, as an entrepreneur, you have never taken the time to download it
out of your head and into written documents (i. e. checklists, procedures, policies,
forms, etc. ).
Once you have created these detailed documents, they should be gathered and
organized into an Operations Manual for your company.
Now before you think – “WHAT?? is she crazy? I don't have anyone working
for me, why do I need to do this now?” Here's the deal, an Operations Manual
is like an instructions manual for how things are done. With it you can easily
hire someone to do the activities that aren’t the highest and best use of your
time. Depending on the task, it could even be handled by my favorite, a Virtual
Assistant, giving you more time to focus more on the things you’re great at,
especially those that lead to following your passion and new business.
Don't overwhelm yourself, just pick an area where you regularly do something,
make a checklist for how it's ideally done and follow it so you don't forget
anything. Then pick another area and another area. Pretty soon you'll have
a system in place and a manual with instructions to help your first hire do a
spectacular job for your business.
Keep dreaming BIG, you've got something magical the world needs and with help
you'll change the world.