A Checklist for Wise & Timely Decision Making

Experts make mistakes out of ineptitude (not applying what they know) and not out of ignorance (not knowing what is important in the first place).

(Paraphrasing Atul Gawande from his book, The Checklist Manifesto).

A Two Day Workshop on Decision Making

What if leaders in complex organizations had a checklist to remind them of the important and nuanced steps in the process of making wise decisions? This two day workshop teaches a process and checklist for making wise and timely decisions in complex organizations and under conditions where the decision to be made is about a “wicked problem”–those challenges that defy rational and linear problem solving methods.

Workshop Outcomes

Participants will learn a checklist that will guide through the phases of decision making, where achieving wise and timely decisions could become at risk. During the course of the workshop, they will apply the checklist to a real decision facing them. Participants learn:

  • New research about how to make good decisions for diverse groups.
  • The value of the checklist.
  • How to set up a decision and maintain a decision making journal.
  • How to challenge your assumptions and reveal your blind spots.
  • Linking decisions to values and to the goals of the organization.
  • How to broadcast and implement decisions.
  • How to reduce the complexity and the downside of decisions on those who must “live” with it.


This workshop is awesome for both new and veteran leaders and teams at the helm of important initiatives and who want to make decisions that are good for people and that advance the goals of the organization. This workshop works particularly well for leadership teams that attend together.

A Little Bit About The Value of Checklists

Atul Gawande is a surgeon who has given significant thought to how experts such as airline pilots and medical personnel can improve the results of complex and critical procedures. In his book The Checklist Manifesto (2009), Gawande articulates the idea that experts make mistakes out of ineptitude—not applying what they know, and not out of ignorance—not knowing what is important in the first place. Gawande says that these experts need checklists that remind them of the crucial steps and turning points in each complex procedure. His thesis arose out of noticing that otherwise competent individuals can and do make catastrophic mistakes because they either miss a step, forget to ask a key question, or fail to plan a response to deviations from the norm.