Why do airlines use checklists?

Because they work. Think about it. You have a plane full of people. How sure do you want to be that that plane makes a safe trip? In fact it’s not good enough just to land safely. It has to be on time. There are not hundreds of details that have to be kept up with….there are thousands of specific details pertaining to each flight. Multiply that by thousands of flights every day.

One disaster could devastate an airline financially
Two disasters might be enough to cause a bankruptcy. There is no margin for error when you are responsible for tens of thousands of lives everyday. So how serious do you think the airlines are about safety? 

They are dead serious about safety!
They have to be. That’s the nature of their business and that’s exactly why they use checklists. It doesn’t matter if you are a 30 year pilot who has flown 100,000 flights safely, you are still going to go through the all the pre-flight, during flight and post flight line by line on your next flight. It doesn’t matter if you have it memorized, you will still read the checklist. There is a clear reason for this…anyone can forget and any error could be fatal.

If something can go wrong, it will go wrong
If you are dead serious about winning…you need checklists. When you build and use a system of checklists to run your company you eliminate the guesswork. You go from a “seat of the pants” approach to a professional, standardized way of insuring success. It’s the best way of insuring that “things don’t go wrong” because it gives you a tool to make sure they don’t.

You need fewer geniuses
It takes a real expert with massive experience to run a business off the top of his head. It takes someone who is a master of their craft to break down their business into simple sequential steps, but once this is established it makes it easier to break those steps down even further into checklist form. But once you have the checklist you can take a less experienced person and use them to do more of the basics…all they do is follow the list.

Checklists are worth the effort
They aren’t easy to create, and they will need adjusting and refining but they eliminate the guesswork. They eliminate the need for a lot of the reminders. They save time because things get done in the right order. They make it easier to stay on schedule because you can calculate how long each step takes. 

Are you dead serious about your business?
Is it important to be consistent and get things done on schedule? Is your business complex with a lot of moving parts? 

Then you need checklists because the alternative is running things by the seat of your pants and that method has too much room for error. 

If you want to protect your team from disasters, do like the airlines do, use checklists!

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