The Power of Checklists

So simple, yet so powerful; checklists are kind of amazing. Think about it, a checklist is used during every preflight check. Checklists are also used during surgery prep. In fact, one surgeon, Atul Gawande, wrote a book, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right.

“Gawande argues that one of the most basic organizational tools — the simple checklist — can improve the effectiveness of teams and individuals performing complex tasks. When properly conceived and used, a checklist ensures communication and confirmation among members of a team and catches errors.”

Not sold on the fact that something so basic can be so effective? Dr. Gawande and his research team introduced a mandatory two-minute checklist to several hospitals as part of a study in 2008. Surgeries in those hospitals saw their death rates drop by 47%. Impressive right? Checklists work and here’s why…


  • We Forget -How many times have you gotten to the gym only to find out you don’t have everything you need? How many times have you packed that same gym bag? Roughly 90 million times, right? Repetition does not mean a process has been refined. In fact, the more mindless a task becomes, the more apt we are to forget something. And it’s always the headphones right? You just can’t workout without headphones…


  • We Get Stressed -Some people work best under pressure; the rest of us make mistakes that we would never usually make. Seriously, it’s neuroscience, ya’ll. Checklists keep users grounded with order of operations or prioritization at the forefront. They provide a visual  step by step documentation of any process.


  • We Get Lazy -While it’s easy to ignore an empty checkbox on a personal checklist, it’s not so easy when a team shares in the responsibility. When a team is involved in the creation and carrying out of a checklist, there is an enhanced sense of accountability with each check. Checking a box without having done it, now means answering to more than just yourself.

The creators of Action Card have mad respect for the power of checklists and saw the opportunity to evolve the checklist with the right technology. Essentially, Action Card is a series of checklists that incorporate cloud-based sharing, real-time communication, and a level of transparency that no paper-based system can touch. Want to see what we’re talking about? Take a demo today!.