Here’s an idea I read about this week:
You can't make a recipe for something as complicated as surgery. Instead, you can make a recipe for how to have a team that's prepared for the unexpected.
I took a break this week from reading historical fiction to read The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, bestseller author and surgeon, recommended to me by a friend. If you're wondering (like I did) whether its another work efficiency wonder, you'd be happily surprised. Gawande's book is an absorbing moment-by-moment pursuit of addressing a hidden-in-plain-sight issue: people dying from infections they acquire right in the place they've come for healing -- in the hospital.
The book traces his thought process first of recognizing the increasing complexity of medicine in the 21st century. While this know-how has brought wonderful advancements its sheer volume has become unmanageable, causing avoidable mistakes. I loved how just by entertaining the idea that things could be better, this created an awareness of other industries that handle complexity like the construction of a high-rise building or rapid response to emergencies on airplanes.
Gawande studied how each coped with multiple choices, decentralized decision-makers and responding to the unexpected. Eventually, he found a common denominator: checklists.
He writes, "Checklists turn out...to be among the basic tools of the quality and productivity revolution in aviation, engineering, construction - in virtually every field combining high risk and complexity. Checklists seem lowly and simplistic, but they help fill in for the gaps in our brains and between our brains."
And, it turns out, between people. Because the lowly checklist shared and spoken aloud by a team of people -- whether in the operating room among doctors and nurses or in an airplane between pilots and flight attendants -- creates teamwork, humility and discipline right when an emergency demands it.
I loved how this aligns with what I've been writing about: Stories of people that push against the edges of limitation and how this perseverance connects us to what matters and each other. I don't want to spoil how the book ends so will end with a recommendation to read it -- and let me know what you think.
Update to steps on exploring writing a book
Writing 30 minutes/day: Today is Day 99!
Social media: On my Twitter discomfort: I have posted four times, re-tweeted five times, and "liked" a bunch. Not comfortable yet! and I need to set up Hootsuite (social media communications dashboard) but it will get better. Mostly this is a behavior change. On Facebook (where I have been largely inactive) I've posted two shares of stories that align with my mission. Instagram: No changes from my daily writing post. Someday I hope I laugh at this... But last week I said I'd say "Yes!" to reaching out and doing more on social media. So this is a start. Recall that I'm doing this to reach out to others that are like minded when it comes to my writing topics.
Let me close with a last note:
Better is possible. It does not take genius. It takes diligence. It takes moral clarity. It takes ingenuity. And above all, it takes a willingness to try.
Hope you have a great week!