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Doing What? When? By Whom?
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I've been doing this job for so many years that it comes as second nature to me what needs to be done, in what order, by which deadline. Most any task that crosses my desk is one that I've done before, often repeatedly in a single season.

It wasn't until we promoted a new person to fill a vacancy created when an old friend who held the same job title as I retired, that I realized how much I know beyond the bare job description and how much this newbie, bright as he is, needed a checklist.

We work in a large organization; the challenges we face every day (some days more than others) are often complex and stressful. With many years' experience, I can usually thread my way through the thicket, pull in possibilities by reviewing the roles of other specialists; recalling earlier, similar events; or consulting with the entire team.

This poor newbie hadn't a clue. Everything was new and didn't seem to be covered at all by any description anywhere. His was to be On the Job Training--right in the middle of a firefight. It would have been so much easier for him, if there had been a checklist or two.

I'm in the process of working up some checklists, both for people in lateral positions and for our clerical staff. Each person should not have to learn by trial and error, some learning quickly, some flailing around until rescued.

A strategy for success is a checklist for each standard crisis. Yes, there are standard, highly repetitious crises--over and over, we have to do the same tasks, with variations, to be sure, but each very similar to the others.

Then there are the weird or unusual ones, which really can't be standardized--all one can do is extrapolate from previous practice and give a reasonable answer. But at least we can avoid the common, simple mistakes, such as missed deadlines and emails not sent or cc'd to the correct recipients.

We should have checklists that specify what needs to be done, by whom, and what is the deadline. I have one for Sundays, when I'm the sexton, and I use it every Sunday.

Now if I could just get the IT Department to develop and follow checklists, maybe every new software rolled out for us wouldn't crash and burn...dream on!

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