Using checklist to improve your work

Equity capital markets (ECM)

My checklist when reviewing a draft circular or other submission document for a corporate exercise looks something like this:

1. Review my team member’s comments on the draft document as I peruse the draft document.

2. Add on my comments.

3. Once I have reached the end of the draft, go back to the areas I have highlighted in the draft where I may need to recheck or reconsider certain things.

4. Ensure consistency of information in the draft document with legal due diligence findings.

5. Highlight the sections in the draft document where issuer/company’s clarification is required.

Anyone who is interested in improving his/her work should read The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande. The stories about how surgeons, pilots, fund investors and architects use checklists to improve their outcomes are fascinating.

My favourite passage from the book is this:

“The fear people have about the idea of adherence to protocol is rigidity. They imagine mindless automatons, heads down in a checklist, incapable of looking out their windshield and coping with the real world in front of them. But what you find, when a checklist is well made, is exactly the opposite. The checklist gets the dumb stuff out of the way, the routines your brain shouldn’t have to occupy itself with (Are the elevator controls set? Did the patient get her antibiotics on time? Did the managers sell all their shares? Is everyone on the same page here?), and lets it rise above to focus on the hard stuff (Where should we land?).”

Where do you use checklist? What is in your checklist?


This post first appeared on Linkedin on 12 January 2022.

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