A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Depend Upon

How many times have you done something that you “know how to do” (maybe something you’ve even done frequently before) and then forgotten to do one minor thing and then bam—everything fell apart?

I did that yesterday.

I had just finished “recording” the second module of my new course on Attract More Clients Like Clockwork. I clicked the “End webinar” button. Then I clicked the stop recording button on my screen casting software (Screenflow). And that’s when it hit me. The day before, I had changed a setting on my recording software from record from microphone to record from computer because I was recording someone else’s webinar—which meant that I had just “recorded” my own 90 minute webinar with video only and … NO AUDIO! Ugh!

Okay, no problem. I’m a systems guy so I have a backup plan in place. No need to panic. Because I know that things can go wrong, I not only “normally” record my webinars using Screenflow on my laptop, I also use the video recording software from GoToWebinar as my backup in case anything wrong happens with my recording. So I went to check my recording at GoToWebinar and guess what? Exactly. For some reason when I went to start the webinar yesterday, I clicked on the “Start webinar” button and the “Share screen” button, even had a second computer hooked up so I could confirm that the people on the webinar could both see and hear me well, but, for some reason, forgot to click on the third button, “Record Webinar.” Ugh!

Which meant that I not only “lost” 90 minutes of my life, I had to re-record the entire webinar last evening.

Can you relate? Or, as we used to say in the church world, “Can I get a witness?” 🙂

A mind is a terrible thing to depend upon. This wasn’t my first webinar. I’ve walked through the procedure tons of times. In my head, I knew all the steps. In fact, I “normally” do a sound check to make sure the recording software is picking up the mic. But, I was running a few minutes late and somehow forgot to do that one simple step. Ugh!

So, What’s The Solution?

The solution is so simple that it’s almost embarrassing to have to admit it, but it’s true. The solution is …. a checklist.

Now, before you click away and think, “That was boring!” or “That was simple!” let me remind you that the most important things in life are usually just that …. simple.

You would think that a surgeon wouldn’t need a checklist to remind him/her to “wash their hands,” but they do. And whenever a hospital chooses to use that checklist, guess what? Patient deaths do down.

Or you would think that they wouldn’t need a checklist to make sure that the number of sponges before a surgery and the number of sponges after a surgery were the same number … but they do.

Likewise, you would think that a pilot, after hundreds of flights, would know exactly what he/she needs to do as they’re getting ready for flight. But just like the rest of us, they’re human and open to making mistakes. So, rather than depend upon a mental checklist of things to do before takeoff, every pilot around the world goes through a written checklist.

It sounds so simple. But it’s not.

It Only Takes One Missed Step

The problem is that, in most things in life, it only takes one missed step before something goes wrong. You can get everything right, but if you miss one step, it all falls apart.

For example, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to visit a church, and the battery in the pastor’s mic has gone out. Out of the hundreds of steps that are involved in putting a service together, that church may have gotten 739 right, except the one step, “Put new batteries in pastor’s mic.” And because they missed that one step, first the mic started crackling, then it when in and out, the pastor got flustered, lost his train of thought, then he had to ask the sound person to bring a battery up front, at which point we all had to sit and wait patiently until the new battery was installed. It was just one step that “everyone knows” should be done … but wasn’t.

Or I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received an email from someone who’s promoting something (a webinar, a product, a joint venture, etc.) with a bad link in it. You would think, “everyone knows” you should send yourself a copy of a mass email before sending it out to the masses. And, moreover, you should click on each link to confirm they all work (after all, this is someone who’s income is dependent upon people clicking those links). But they don’t always (which is why you and I often get the “Sorry, wrong link” email a few hours later).

It doesn’t matter how many times someone has done something. Nor does it matter that they get it right most of the time. The issue is, we’re all human—which means that none of us is perfect—which is why checklists are so important for “routine” procedures. Why? Because a mind is a terrible thing to depend upon.

Make Them For Everything

For example, a few weeks ago, I wrote a post many of you liked entitled, “Four Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Every Morning.” I’m guessing if you did, you probably asked those questions for the next few days. And if you did that, you probably realized that those four questions really helped focus your day and you were more productive. However, it’s now been a few weeks and I’m guessing that most people who read that post a few weeks ago, aren’t asking those four questions every morning a few weeks later.

But what if you had a morning checklist? What if every morning you arrived at work, you had a checklist of things to do first BEFORE you checked your email or got dragged into a long conversation or meeting? Wouldn’t that be amazing?

I guarantee you that there are a ton of things you know you “should be doing” or “would like to do,” but you just don’t remember to do them—or don’t do them consistently. But what if you had a checklist to do them?

Likewise, with your staff and employees, what kinds of checklists do you need to either create for them or have them create?

If you want to have consistent experiences for customers and clients, checklists are a surefire way to improve the experience.

So looking at your business right now, what checklists do you need to create for yourself? And then, what checklists do you need to create for your people (or have them create)?

As for me, I can tell you that I now have one for starting and actually RECORDING a webinar. Wish I had done that BEFORE yesterday.

Like I said, a mind is a terrible thing to depend upon.

To your accelerated success!

P.S. If you have any favorite checklists or stories about not using a checklist, please add them to the comments section below (or click here >> if you’re reading this by RSS or email)

P.P.S. If you want to see my newly created GoToWebinar Pre-Webinar Checklist, just click here >>

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