In a fascinating report on the BBC News website, deaths after surgery have been reduced by over 40% after using a checklist before and after operating.

Now, around the operating tables of hospital theatres we have some of the smartest brains around.  I’m sure if you told them to sign a box to say they’ve done each step they would laugh at you and say, “That’s all the obvious stuff”.

Yet the obvious things are exactly what the checklist contains.  Things like “Do we have blood available for infusion if they’re bleeding”.  To a surgeon, that’s to ask the patently obvious.  But the results are spectacular – 40% fewer deaths from complications after surgery.

So, since your business is not brain surgery, where would a simple checklist help you to improve customer service or sales performance?

Here are three neat ideas to use checklists in your business

  • A checklist of everything that a customer might need to go with a purchase – for example, a butcher might offer stuffings, sauces, herbs, etc to go with a meat sale.
  • A carpenter might have a checklist for your van, to make sure your tools, dust sheets, sharpening kit and a small stock of important wood sizes are on-board.
  • A bakery might have a loading list to make sure all customers orders are present and correct before dispatch

Checklists are something we all understand, yet most companies don’t use them.  Put it into practice today – it’s not brain surgery, after all…

1 Comment

  1. Darren Thomson on January 26th, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Thanks Lee! I very much appreciate all your useful notes. It is very helpful to be reminded to follow basic plans that do always produce results!



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