Mount Everest, Spiderman, Checklists and Teams

Mount Everest

This post is a composite of a few items related to teams and checklists and how even the best laid plans of mice and teams can go astray. If you haven’t read, you may want to read Into This Air by John Krakauer. The preface is chilling.

There were more than fifty people camped on the Col that night, huddled in shelters pitched side by side, yet an odd feeling of isolation hung in the air. The roar of the wind made it impossible to communicate from one tent to the next. In this godforsaken place, I felt disconnected from the climbers around me — emotionally, spiritually, physically — to a degree I hadn’t experienced on any previous expedition. We were a team in name only, I’d sadly come to realize. Although in a few hours we would leave camp as a group, we would ascend as individuals, linked to one another by neither rope nor any deep sense of loyalty. Each client was in it for himself or herself, pretty much. And I was no different.

Krakauer’s book is well worth reading especially when you realize that following a checklist can literally save your life. Coincidentally, the same book is mentioned in a recent WSJ review of the trouble-plagued musical Spiderman. In the review the  writer suggests the show’s problems are “the cumulative impact of many wrong turns.” Again not following a well-defined checklist — or worse not having such a  checklist — can lead a team into disarray or even disaster.

Q: Any examples of great checklists?

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About Bob McCarthy

Originally from the Northeast, I now call Southwest Florida home. I have been a professional copywriter and editor since 1979, both freelance and in house. I have had article published in regional, national and international magazines. Plus, a video for which I wrote the script won an industry award as Best Training Video.
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