Decades spent in private service have only reinforced my slavish devotion to checklists. They function so beautifully, on so many levels, that I must take this moment to sing their praises.
Thanks to a little thing called Systemic complexity, scientists tell us we cannot rely upon our memory alone to know how to integrate ever-changing, complicated threads into a cohesive functioning whole. Checklists allow us to unload some of the cognitive stress of keeping a gazillion plates spinning, by defining our concerns and entrusting them to an outside helper.
For the author, the checklist provides dual-level architecture for thinking through problems – developing both detailed plans and a broad overview.
For the reader, it demystifies the future. It tells them, This is what’s expected.
For you the savvy employer, checklists send two clear messages: You understand the complicated needs of your household; and you have organized plans to maintain it to your standards. When you present seasonal staff with a set of tasks that can reasonably be accomplished, an orderly way to achieve them, and a timeframe for completion, you give them the best chance at succeeding.
Here in the Hamptons, the summer presents an abundance of season-specific maintenance and guest-related tasks whose protocols need to be quickly telegraphed to your staff – some of whom may be new to your household. Cue the almighty checklists!
Here are some examples that serve especially well at this time of year:
• Guest Services and Preferences
• Airport pick-up protocols
• Pool/Spa Procedures
• Sports/Entertainment Equipment readiness
• Party/Event Set-up
• Storm/Hurricane Preparedness
Sadly, there is no absolute insurance against unexpected dilemmas. Sometimes, you simply have to toss the checklists and move straight to skillful improvisation, which topic we shall explore in my next blog…
Meanwhile, I recommend you begin your own personal checklist with the following item:
1) Have a Happy Hamptons Summer!