Years ago (many years ago) I learned how to fly single engine airplanes, and there were three specific lessons I learned that will serve me forever:
- Use all of the runway. The surface behind you is useless. Use every inch of available assets.
- A stiff neck will kill you. Look around and always be observant of your surroundings. Tunnel vision is a luxury you can’t afford.
- Use your checklist. Regardless of your age or experience level, do not depend on your memory to see you through.
In this morning’s paper there was a reminder of how important checklists are and I thought I would pass along this sage advice. The headline read, “Make a checklist – it will keep your business healthy.” A story in Fast Magazine has a guy asking what words come to mind when one hears the word “checklist.” Basic, routine and dull were some of the responses.
How about life-saving and game-changing? I’m not going to tell you or show you how to construct a checklist for the simple reason that this would be demeaning. You know what steps need to be taken to book an itinerary, answer the phone, greet a new client, stay in contact with an old client, clean the air conditioning vents, etc. I’m betting that these mundane chores are being done as we speak…by the seat of your pants.
It is my opinion that you are, in most instances, “winging your way” through the week. In most cases, you are doing so without any negative outcomes. Your “system” appears to be working.
If you are asking me, and you want to stay in business for the next ten years, I strongly recommend that you begin documenting your responsibilities and create a tight list to keep you focused and on track. The fact of the matter is that they are so logical, and the reminders you write on them so simple that in all probability, you will discount my recommendation.
In today’s highly competitive environment, a single error or oversight could cost you, your employees, and your families dearly. Why not do everything in your power to make sure that once you get your business off the ground, you get it to your intended destination safely? Here is my idea:
Build a simple checklist you can use in your promotional efforts, and send it to both clients and prospects alike. This clear sign of professionalism will indicate that you know how to make things work without unnecessary risk. Here is an example to help stimulate your thinking: www.checklists.com/travel.html
I’ll close by borrowing from an old worn-out pilot’s reminder:
“A pilot who sits on his checklist is flying by the seat of his pants.”
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