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The Checklist Manifesto Summary

Favorite Quote from The Checklist Manifesto

A staff writer for New Yorker, professor at Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School, and author of four best-selling books including, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right.

Simple Short Summary: The modern world teaches us how to prevent failure and becomes specialist, but still, we fail because the complexity and volume of knowledge have surpassed our ability as an individual to properly deliver it to other people thus Gawande comes up with an approach – checklist – to do better and reduce errors.

The Checklist Manifesto Summary

(4 Min Read)

In this summary, you will learn:

Lesson: A – Ambiguity in communication can be harmful and give birth to serious problems

Lesson: B – A Checklist should be concise, doable, and contain only essential items

Lesson: C – In critical conditions, communicating flawlessly with others prevents serious problems.

Lesson: A – Ambiguity in communication can be harmful and give birth to serious problems

A medical team in San Francisco was met with a critical situation while dealing with an injured man. The team supposed it was just a shallow wound, but after the surgeon’s cut, as the bloodstream come out, the team realized that the depth of this wound was a foot long.

In fact, it was found out that this man had been injured by a bayonet at the Halloween costume party. Luckily, the patient lived through. However, no one in the medical team took clarification about the tool from which the man had been injured.

In medical, ambiguity in communication could transform into a serious problem or death of a patient. Only, in the United States, over fifty million people have surgery each year, and beyond 150,000 people have died after their operation.

According to researches, fifty percent of these death can be avoided. So, the question is, how to reduce the number of errors that occur in surgery? Errors that can cause the death of a patient.

The solution is simple. Instead of spending a sum of money on buying modern medical equipment, you use checklists to reduce human errors in surgeries.

So, what is a checklist? A Checklist is a record of steps used for performing certain repetitive activities.

It ensures that the procedure carries out effectively in a systematic manner so that anything important doesn’t skip. The truth is, we forget to take the obvious as well as important steps.

Steps that we already know but fail to follow the systematic pattern while executing a procedure. Here, a checklist will save you from making a blunder and remind you to execute the obvious steps before you advance to the next steps.

So, once the essential steps are tick off, you can mentally prepare yourself to handle the challenging and uncertain tasks at hand.

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Lesson: B – A Checklist should be concise, doable, and contain only essential items

People think checklist as a way to write something carelessly for remaindering them to do something. However, a list becomes more powerful when it is concise, doable, and includes only crucial items.

The fundamental of any list is that it must have “killer items” of that process. Items that are essential to carry out in a certain manner, and can generate a terrible outcome, if not complete.

These are also the steps people often neglected. A simple example of this is to make note of patient allergies before starting an operation.

A list must not be an extensive guide but contain significant items. Because Daniel Boorman, who created a checklist for Boeing plane, declares that 5-9 items are ideals for any list.

Besides this, there is a time limit to undergo the list and tick off each item. After spending a minute, people become inattentive and forget to carry off the crucial steps.

Thus, a list should be direct and simple so that it doesn’t contain any ambiguity. Even, it must be clear the kind of checklist, you are using.

You can make a “Do-confirm” or “Read do” checklist. In “Do-confirm”, you carry out the steps and then verify that you have finished them while in “Read-do”, you read out each step while doing them.

Moreover, a checklist is in a language that is familiar to the coworkers. That’s why while crafting a checklist, keep certain points in mind – preciseness, and include all the essentials steps.

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Lesson: C – In critical conditions, communicating flawlessly with others prevents serious problems.

Team working on a complicated task need to communicate flawlessly. Otherwise, a checklist would be of no use.

Thus, it is effective to add one more step that’s “huddle” for improving the flow of communication. Huddle provides an opportunity to interact with team members.

It is the process of introducing yourself and communicating with the team to discuss the possible obstacle. Research also proves that people who do know the names of other team members work more effectively.

Hence, the author Atul added – huddle – as a mandatory step in his Safe Surgery Saves Lives program checklist. Certainly, communication among team members is crucial under critical conditions.

Moreover, a team will more likely to outperform when they define the opportunities in advance to discuss the critical matter.

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The Checklist Manifesto Review

A Checklist is introduced by the Air Force of the U.S. to empower pilots to fly aircraft. Sometimes, long hours of training can be ineffective for preventing human errors.

Thus, the author Atul Gawande comes up with an alternative approach – a checklist.

He shows that a simple method can reduce human errors in executing complicated procedures even where most people are experts in performing their jobs. Although the checklists aren’t limited to use only in hospitals, people use them in businesses, banking, and in the construction of tall buildings.

The book is for people who work in a high-pressure environment, medical professionals, and for those who want to do things done in a particular manner.

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