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"Tom Clifford is by trade a filmmaker. For most of his life, he rarely wrote anything longer than a brief comment in the margin of a script. 

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Monday
Feb252008

Need a Hero? Use This Simple Checklist

Superwoman.jpg

The poor checklist.

Dull. Simple. Boring.

I mean, who can argue with that, right?

  • Go shopping. Check.
  • Pick up kids. Check.
  • Write report. Check.
  • Save 1500 lives. Check.
  • Save $175M. Check.

Huh? Save $175M? Save 1500 lives? With a boring checklist?

That's exactly what Dr. Peter Pronovost did with a simple checklist.

"Doctors are supposed to (1) wash their hands with soap, (2) clean the patient's skin with chlorhexidine antiseptic, (3) put sterile drapes over the entire patient, (4) wear a sterile mask, hat, gown, and gloves, and (5) put a sterile dressing over the catheter site once the line is in."

But the power of simple checklists can extend beyond doctors, nurses and hospitals. Checklists can be used in your corporate video story.

We'll get to that in a second. But first...

Boring.jpg

Do you still think checklists are boring?

Don't tell Dan and Chip Heath. Dan and Chip, authors of "Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die," recently posted a "sticky" riff on the boring and dull "checklist." The brothers submit that the boring checklist can actually be "heroic" by:

  • saving you money
  • improving customer satisfaction
  • creating consistency in procedures

Remember when I shared the importance of having heroes in your video story and video dragons to create empathy with your audience? We can take these ideas and wrap them into the power of a simple "heroic" checklist.

As a Client, What Does A Checklist Mean For You?


  • By discovering heroes for your video story, your audience immediately connects with your message, creating empathy.
  • Creating empathy creates action. Isn't action what you want when your story fades to black?

Let's take the "heroic checklist" concept and use it to create The Hero's Checklist.

The Hero's Checklist


Video clients need heroes embracing these qualities:

1. Passion. Helping others by aligning personal and organizational values ignites our hero into action.

2. Storyteller. Telling stories with others is fun and comes naturally to them.

3. Interesting. Sharing their points of view encourages us to learn more about them.

4. Personality. Revealing their charisma, charm and presence attracts us

5. Authenticity. Showing us their "truth," we know they're real; just themselves.

Simple? You bet. Heroic? You decide.

Dr. Provonost's $10,000 Question


As the Heath's article mentions, Dr. Provonost would gather doctors and nurses together and ask, "Would you ever intentionally allow a patient's health to be harmed in your presence?" They'd say, "Of course not." Then he'd hit them with the punch line: "Then how can you see someone not washing their hands and let them get away with it?"

Re-framing Dr. Provonost's Question


Let's ask the same question but framed with our hero in mind.

"Would you ever intentionally allow your corporate video story to be harmed with your knowledge?"

You say, "Of course not." Then you get hit with the punch line:

"Then how can you show your company's story without your heroes and let your company get away with it?"

  • What do you think?
  • Am I off? On? Too harsh? Too idealistic?
  • Either way, drop me a note.

---Tom

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Reader Comments (2)

Tom, Checklists are powerful.I learned to love them when I was flying with the Navy. Too many very bad things could happen in that business to ever trust your memory, even after logging thousands of hours.

Of course the submariners were quick to remind us that they were using them before our community even existed!
February 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChris Cree
Hey Chris!

Great to see you in these parts :-) Thanks for dropping by and sharing the story.

I was never a "list" guy myself, but that's changing!

Be well,
Tom
February 28, 2008 | Registered CommenterThomas Clifford

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