If you look on Amazon or at any other bookstore you can usually find a book of checklists.  Most businesses use them.  

They can be used to help you run better meetings, sharpen presentations, assess the quality of a supplier delivery, co-ordinate your team and they can even help you to make better decisions. Checklists are a simple way to make sure that standard procedures have been followed, that specific activities have been completed, or a certain set of criteria has been met.  

They are a widely used, practical and easy tool to use. If they comprise a series of questions and support better judgement, they can generally improve management quality outcomes.

However, there are downsides to checklists that are not always obvious, here are some to look out for.  

  1. If they are simply a set of tick boxes they can often miss unique issues and risks.
  2. Because they are often built to support discipline around standard operational procedures, they can destroy or hamper innovation.
  3. If only a yes or no response is required it may not highlight the upstream or downstream root cause of a problem.
  4. Checklists are often completed as a last step – so they don’t always get the level of attention that they need.
  5. They can discourage actual thinking.

Most businesses have copious amounts of data, information and know-how and checklists are a great way to use it to build improved performance. When creating and implementing your checklists, make sure they contain obvious things that are often taken for granted and use them to drive the behaviours and outcomes you need.  

By having the right checklists in place and using them at the right time, you can vastly improve performance.