Monday, July 18, 2011

Trouble with Transitions

In the fall of 2010, I had the opportunity to take a graduate course in instructional and workplace performance. I quickly learned that one of the most vulnerable spots in productivity is the transition point. Yhe likelihood for error increases during transition.

According to Peter Bregman in his HBR blog post titled “The Secret to Ensuring Follow-Through,” poor communication is a major contributing factor. Bregman supports the use of checklists to improve communication. Checklists, an integral component in wildland fire, have their proponents and critics; but few can deny that checklists provide a consistent operating mechanism.

Bregman’s checklist includes the items listed below. You checklist may be different in order to focus on your specific transition trouble spots.

  • What do you understand the priorities to be?
  • What concerns or ideas do you have that have not already been mentioned?
  • What are your key next steps, and by when do you plan to accomplish them?
  • What do you need from me in order to be successful?
  • Are there any key contingencies we should plan for now?
  • When will we next check-in on progress/issues?
  • Who else needs to know our plans, and how will we communicate them?

An excellent resource cited by Bregman is a January 2010 podcast interview with HBR by Dr. Atul Gawande, author of The Checklist Manifesto, titled “Using Checklists to Prevent Failure.” I highly suggest that wildland firefighters listen to Gawande’s podcast interview

1 comment:

Pam McDonald said...

Gawande's book "The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right" is recommended reading in the WFLDP's Professional Reading Program.