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The Checklist Manifesto

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The other day, we were discussing a delicious chocolate chip cookie recipe, shared by one of our co-workers the other day, and recognized a very  interesting business parallel. As she was going through the recipe she was calling out her modifications, such as “It calls for 2 ½ cups of ground oats, but I use 2 cups ground and ½ cup whole.” Or “You can get away with ¾ cup white sugar if you add a ¼ of brown.” And “Oh and I mix dark chips with milk chocolate to make them richer.” As she was going on about these changes to her recipe, we started talking about how we kind of all do that with most good things we cook up. From centerpiece ideas, to menus and strategies, and just like a list of ingredients, all tasks needed to complete our projects are written down into lists, also lovingly called checklists. 

Taking a little of this and adding a little of that is a great way to create our own perfect formula for how we want to conduct our business with each client. That said, it can be easy to wheel spin as we sometimes found ourselves recreating wheel after wheel, for each event. Something that helped us a lot was to create a checklist. We knew we had some standard staple ingredients (think of these as your flour, eggs, butter and sugar) that go on to your checklist as your standard offerings. Then come the unique bits such as your chocolate chips (food) coconut (A/V) sprinkles (flowers) walnuts (apps) and more. 

Maintaining a standard base recipe for your secret sauce as event planners can help you stay out of the weeds when it comes to the fun details, and help keep you organized. Creating an ultimate checklist however can improve efficiencies, help you make more money and definitely save you time. 

Atul Gawande, a famous surgeon, public health researcher and best selling author  wrote “The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right” and it is fantastic. Take our word for it or the 4.5 star reviews by 1,128 customers on amazon. Through riveting stories Gawande reveals personal accounts of where a checklist actually worked to save lives, improve communities and build businesses of all kinds. He takes an incredibly simple idea, the checklist, and turns it into a powerful business tool. “The Checklist Manifesto” is essential reading for anyone working to get things right.”

Being methodical can lead to unrealized creativity as you worry less about whether or not it will turn out, and turn your attention to trying new combinations.

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