Dan Pink

More than money or perks, Daniel Pink, author of Drive, suggests that what drives people to do their best work and therefore results in happy teams are three things: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Autonomy and teamwork doesn’t sound compatible. However, if each person on the team does their own job well, playing the role that the system needs and dictates, then they can have significant levels of autonomy. A fire inspector given the right tools, should be able to conduct inspections without significant intervention. Checklinked can provide those tools at their fingertips.

For example, if they don’t know a particular code requirement well, they can use Checklinked’s notes section that can function like a help section providing reference notes which can have links to the actual code section or other webpages with more detailed information about how to handle the issue. In many cases, they can continue their work without the need for additional people to be involved, providing them the autonomy that that leads to increased job satisfaction and happiness. Perhaps more importantly, every inspector gets the same help from the same source. This consistency impacts the satisfaction of everyone involved.

Without this system, they would have to leave the inspection, go back to the office, get the code books out, potentially discuss it with their boss or colleagues, and then decide what to do. This inconsistent, unproductive, and haphazard method benefits no one and certainly doesn’t lead to happiness.

More autonomy benefits everyone involved. Their boss, perhaps the fire marshal, doesn’t have to be consulted, freeing their time. The builder doesn’t have to wait on their inspection approval as the process can move faster. The developer and general contractor move the schedule along easier with less friction and stress. The Checklinked system allows more autonomous workflow which provides benefits to the worker and those they ar working with.

Beyond autonomy and being able to conduct your work with less intervention, workers desire to be really good at what they do. No one likes to make mistakes, but just not doing it wrong doesn’t mean your doing it well or showing mastery. The difference between not doing any thing wrong and being a master can be viewed as the difference in saying all the right words on stage and being an good, or master, actor. With a bit of practice, anyone can can memorize and verbalize a script, but it takes more than that to really be an actor.

Mastery during inspections takes many forms and is not just memorizing code sections so rulings can move quicker. People with mastery anticipate problems and work to avoid them. They create the education and the systems that allow the autonomy to occur. They organize the workflows to catch the big problems at the beginning so as to not waste time on areas that would have to be redone if there are big problems. They communicate authentically, with clarity and reason. They make the people they are involved with better off.

Checklinked systems do far more than provide a reference to requirements or things to do, document the process, or collect data. Checklinked pushes everyone to become a master of their craft. The simplest example comes from organizing the work into a system. This allows review and adjustment, eliminating mistakes and providing improvement, all of which creates mastery. Haphazard workflow leads to misery not mastery as workers really don’t know what to do next, killing any autonomy they have, and leaving them with a job not a craft.

The ability modify a workflow to include new information or reorder to adapt to field conditions used to be daunting, if it was possible. To change a form in a government bureaucracy could take months or even years. But it’s not just paper based systems that prevent mastery, it’s the behavior modification of the workers that provided the stiffest challenge.

Because the documentation doesn’t get lost in a file cabinet or in someone’s memory, learning from past events can be inserted quickly into future workflows. For example,  a workflow may no longer be the most productive way to do things. To do it differently next time would typically require memory and a changing of habits. But with Checklinked the workflow doesn’t come from memory or habit. It comes from the next item on the list. Instead of thinking, “Okay what’s next?”, users will simply look to the next item and do that.

Imagine the relief that will come from trying to figure out what to do as opposed to just doing it. The energy and anxiety differs completely. This becomes obvious when you consider how many habits we all have. We brush our teeth the same, cook the food the same, drive the care the same.

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