The Checklist

Do you make lists?  I do, and as a manager I used to insist that there be protocols – checklists – for most of the departmental activities.  I always found them to be an excellent was to assure a repeatable, high-quality product.  They also make it relatively easy to work new hires into a routine with minimal disruption.  Checklists have a big problem, however, and that’s our topic today.

The problem is tunnel vision.  Think of a pilot landing a plane.  Every pilot, no matter how many hundreds of hours of flying they have, uses checklists as they go through landing.  It prevents little problems like forgetting to put the landing gear down.  The thing that they do as well, which is not on the checklist, is to look out the window as they near the ground.

Now think of the marketing team that is going through its protocol.  Part of it may be to work on the brand’s social media. In many cases, the brand continues to schedule a post every 3 hours on one platform, and every 2 hours on another.  They’ll drop posts into a tool like Buffer or Hootsuite, feeling good that they’ve checked something off the list.  The problem is that they don’t look out the window.  They’re not paying attention to what is actually happening on their social presence.  Comments go unanswered.  Spam comments aren’t deleted.  There is no engagement.  Social media?  It doesn’t sound so social to me.

More importantly, I’m always surprised that the nature of many brands’ posts continues to be “Me! Me! Me!”.  That sort of antisocial, broadcast thinking has been dead for some time now and yet, zombie-like, it walks the social media earth.  What we need to be doing is measuring how often our social fans are engaging via likes, comments, and amplification (how often they share), and we need to ascertain the nature of those interactions (spam comments don’t count).

The checklist is a valuable thing.  A checklist that is enhanced by looking at the world beyond the things on the list is more valuable.  A staff trained to use the checklist as a guide of the minimum requirements, and that is encouraged (strongly) to enhance those minimums with their best work is invaluable.  Which do you have?

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