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Checklists, Continuous Improvement and M&M’s

Author: Jason Quick If you’ve read the powerfully written book “The Checklist Manifesto”, by Atul Gawande, you’d recall the excerpt regarding the music band Van Halen, and their quirky obsession ensuring that all bowls of M&M’s provided for the band had to be completely void of brown M&M’s. On one occasion they actually followed through, cancelling a show when they discovered brown M&M’s in the bowl located in their dressing room.  While this sounded like a typical case of ridiculous-celebrity-over-entitlement, it was however, as Atul Gawande wrote, “an ingenious ruse”. You see, their requirement, Article 126, AKA the ‘no-brown M&M’s’ clause, was always buried deep within their stipulated contractual requirements. Why? Well, the band and their management knew that, whenever...

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