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Boost Your Success! Use a Social Media Checklist

Anyone who knows me knows I’m all about process and procedures and implementing tidy ways of getting stuff done efficiently and effectively (yes, some even call me ‘particular’!).  After seeing Stephen Colbert interview Atul Gawande, author of The Checklist Manifesto: How to get things right, I was hooked.

At Visible I lead our Account Management team and we have 20 key processes within 4 major categories for handling accounts from the onboarding through renewal phases.  Numerous tasks have to be coordinated – each one critical to ensuring that we are delivering successful client account management for the life of a client’s project.  What are the tasks you face associated with designing, implementing, and maintaining a successful social media program?  What sometimes goes wrong?

In times of heavy workloads and high stress, which few businesses are immune to, little tasks can get overlooked.  And it’s often the stupidest little oversights that can create a disastrous outcome.  Even in complex situations, Gawande states that “not only are checklists a help, they are required for success.  There must always be room for judgment, but judgment aided—and even enhanced—by procedure.”

Where would a checklist help you or your team enhance performance, improve success rates and reduce costly errors?

The Checklist Manifesto

Gawande says “The checklist gets the dumb stuff out of the way, the routines your brain shouldn’t have to occupy itself with, and lets it rise above to focus on the hard stuff…”  In other words, a checklist can help you work smarter, ensure that you’ve got key information available, get all necessary tasks completed, avoid overlooking the little things that can unravel an entire project, and remind you to communicate with all key stakeholders.

The Checklist Manifesto looks at the use of checklists in surgery, construction, investment banking, and aviation.  Gawande provides some darn compelling arguments for using checklists from the simple to the most complex of situations.  I’m sold!

Ironically, the one thing Gawande doesn’t provide in his book is a checklist on how to create a useful checklist!  So I’ve taken the liberty to create an abbreviated version of my notes here… but I definitely recommend the book, as it is a fascinating read.


  • Decide whether the situation calls for a DO-CONFIRM checklist or a READ-DO checklist
  • Outline all the steps in a process that need to be followed
    • Review situations that went wrong, identify overlooked steps and ensure those are included on the checklist
  • Ensure the right people are reviewing and approving the checklist components
  • Include a publication date on the checklist, as it will be revised often
  • Add “pause points” at which you or the team must pause and run through a set of checks before moving onto your next steps
    • Especially pertains to a DO-CONFIRM checklist type, where one distinct group of critical steps have to be completed before another set of tasks should be undertaken
  • Include a ‘communication’ check to ensure that at necessary points in a process key stakeholders are communicating about the project status, next steps, and so forth
  • Keep checklists simple, to one page, and with an easy to read font type
  • As needed, get leadership onboard with embracing and promoting the use of checklists
  • Test the checklist in actual, real-life situations
  • Refined and test the checklist until it succeeds at consistently improving the process and outcomes for which it is being applied
  • Schedule a regular checklist review schedule
  • Determine if using the checklist in one business unit or team will require other process changes to be implemented elsewhere in the company (and make a checklist for them!)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article.  Currently, most of my team’s processes have documents containing flowcharts or lengthy instructions.  We’ve already begun converting to checklists and I’m looking forward to seeing the results of this new approach to our process documentation as we roll out the ‘Checklist Manifesto’.  Let me know if you’re going to give it a try!

Warm Regards,

Vicki Blair

Tags : social media

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