If you’ve ever been to hospital and had surgery you’ll remember that as you get wheeled into the operating theatre there are a series of checks that occur. The orderly or nurse will ask your name, what procedure you are having, and whether you are allergic to anything.
Once you are under, they’ll use checklists to make sure they are doing the right operation on the right person, and to minimise the risk of leaving any surgical instruments inside you once they stitch you are (yes, it happens!). These checklists have seen large falls in mortality rates and surgical complications in hospitals around the world.
Lots of industries and occupations use checklists. Aviation, construction, engineering – to name a few. That’s because they save time, money, energy and reduce the likelihood of stuff ups!
But checklists have another use – and one you might not have considered.
They are a great way to remind you of the key activities or actions you want to take as part of your career development and progress.
Think of them as your daily leadership habits!
Perhaps you need to spend more time with your team, or deepening your network. Perhaps you need to allocate more time for reflection, or learning. Perhaps you need to better prioritise your work schedule.
So, firstly, think about the areas in which you want to improve in your career (or personal life). And then identify the actions you are going to take to elevate your performance.
Now, as you likely know, for something to become a habit it takes practice and repetition which is where the checklist reminder is helpful. That reminder may be a calendar invitation, a task in your task bar, a message on your phone, or a written checklist that you manually tick off.
Now you may be thinking – ‘Really. I need to remind myself to do this?!?’ Yes! When you’re busy and before something is a habit, it’s easy to forget to do it. Make it easy for yourself.
You’ve set the intention, now put the checklist structure in place to make sure the intention becomes action.
As American TV show host and comedian Jon Stewart said – “I watch a lot of astronaut movies….Mostly Star Wars. And even Han and Chewie use a checklist”.
See, and just when you thought a checklist wasn’t cool!
Getting you ready for tomorrow, today®
Michelle Gibbings is a change leadership and career expert and founder of Change Meridian. Michelle works with global leaders and teams to help them get fit for the future of work. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’ and ‘Career Leap: How to Reinvent and Liberate Your Career’.