Use a this checklist or die.

Have you ever read a great book that references another book and always want to read the book referenced but always forget what that book was called and never get around to reading it? Yeah me too. I was reading a book by Gladwell and he referenced “The Checklist Manifesto” and how checklists had been used by surgeons to lower the death rate in hospitals by over 60%. I was intrigued and made a mental note to follow up and read that book and for the first time I think ever I followed up on a book within a book.

Every person who leads should read this book especially if you are leading in either a complex or a stressful environment. I believe this book has huge implications for kids ministry and leadership in general. If you could reproduce yourself quicker with more mesurable results wouldn’t you? The check list has a place in church ministry. If we are in a place where we have to innovate to keep balls from being dropped. Checklists are an option, why? Because they externalize structure.

Here is where I think we can use checklists in ministry.

1. Emergency Plans – need a checklist
2. Sound guys – need a checklist
3. On stage communicators – need a checklist
4. Check-in welcome teams – need a checklist

If you are doing a task that requires repetitiveness in any form you need a checklist or you are going to forget the importnat stuff. For example Check-in people turn the computer on, check the name tag printer, check the intake forms, SMILE.  If we don’t see the check box for smile we could forget that our job is about people not computers. My mind is still spinning with the possibilities of how I can begin to use checklists in a way that helps us as a church automate tasks so we can focus on people and not worry about the small stuff. Let the checklist take care of that.

Here are a couple quotes from the book:

“We need a different strategy for overcoming failure, one that builds on experience and takes advantage of the knowledge people have but somehow also makes up for our inevitable human inadequacies. And there is such a strategy- though it will seem almost ridiculous in its simplicity, maybe even crazy to those of us who have spent years carefully developing ever more advanced skills and technologies. It is a checklist.”

“The biggest cause of serious error in this business is a failure of communication”

“The philosophy is that you push the power of decision making out to the periphery and away from the center. You give people the room to adapt, based on their experience and expertise. All you ask is that they talk to one another and take responsibility.”

Lee Scott Walmart CEO to his company regarding Hurricane Katrina “This company will respond to the level of this disaster, a lot of you are going to have to make decisions about your level. Make the best decision that you can with the information that’s available to you at the time, and, above all, do the right thing.”

“If the American government had responded like Wal-Mart has responded, we wouldn’t be in this crisis.” Jefferson Parish’s top official, Aaron Broussard

“I came away from Katrina with a kind of theory: under conditions of complexity, not only are checklists a help, they are required for success. There must always be room for judgment, but judgement aided –  and enhanced – by procedure.”

“There are good checklists and bad. Bad checklists are vague and imprecise. They are too long; they are hard to use; they are impractical. They are made by desk jockeys with no awareness of the situations in which they are to be deployed. They treat the people using the tools as dumb and try to spell out every single step. They turn people’s brains off rather than turn them on.”

“Good checklists, on the other hand, are precise. They are efficient, to the point, and easy to use even in the most difficult situations. They do not try to spell out everything – a checklist cannot fly a plane. Instead, they provide reminders of  only the most critical and important steps- the ones that even the highly skilled professionals using them could miss. Good checklists are, above all, practical.”

“When we look closely, we recognize the same balls being dropped over and over, even by those of great ability and determination. We know the patterns. We see the costs. It’s time to try something else. Try a checklist.”

Check out the book Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande you will be glad you did. My head is still spinning with the possibilities of this book.

 

7 tips to keep your kids safe on mobile devices.

My last post was about keeping kids safe online but dealt more with computer based safety. The web is moving more and more towards mobile devices every year. From ipods to nintendo dsi’s, when you hand your child an internet enabled device without proper boundaries you are foolish.

  • 52% of nine year olds and 95% of 15 year olds have a mobile phone
  • By 2020 most of us will connect to the internet via our mobile devices

Mobile internet Tips for parents

  • Create a Parent / Child Acceptable Use Contract
  • Phones remain in kitchen at night to charge
  • Review phone logs at random, look for gaps in time
  • Get a paper bill and review the numbers called and texts sent
  • Get a web filter for your child’s mobile device.
  • Have family rules for daily, monthly and yearly mobile free times.
  • Have a zero tolerance policy for texting and driving.
Here are a couple of mobile software sites you need to take a look at.

Websafety.com

What makes websafety unique?

Message Monitoring
You will be notified when there is a dangerous message including sexting, pedophilia, cyber-bullying, suicide, drug, or gun talk.
Virtual Fence
Setup unlimited virtual fences and be notified when your child enters or leaves these perimeters. Perfect for working parents with “latch-key kids.”
No Texting and Driving
Revolutionary, patent-pending technology stops texting while driving; passengers can ask parents for permission! Easy to turn off and back on remotely.

Speed Alert
If your child goes over the set speed limit you will be notified instantly.

No Texting Zones
Block text messaging while in certain pre-defined zones, such as at school, in church or at work.

Location History
View recent history of where your child has been.

Contact Lists
Setup safe numbers for family and close friends, alternatively add numbers to the banned list.

Porn Filter
Stop pornography from being viewed on the phone’s internet browser.

If my kids were old enough to be cell phone users this would be a no brainer.

Another site that offers parents monitoring software is Mobile Spy.

Screen SMS messages

Records every SMS message sent or received.

GPS tracking
Tracks GPS position at any interval you select

Call monitoring
Logs all inbound and outbound phone calls.

Photo and video monitoring
Records photos and videos taken by the phone.

One of the push backs many parents and EVERY kid will have is this what about privacy. My kids will not have any privacy there are just to many dangers out there with mobile technology. If my kids get upset over monitoring software on their phone I’ll remind them they are lucky they have a door to their room. Parents if your kid has a cell phone don’t trust them, protect them.

 Here is a couple of other links to mobile safety software.

10 proven ways to keep kids safe online.

One of the posts I like to do from time to time is a post on keeping kids safe online. The internet is an incredible tool but it can and has done incredible damage. One of the most dangerous and most helpful characteristics of parents is they always believe the best in their kids. It’s dangerous because we overlook obvious warning signs because “our kids would never do that”. Our hearts tell us our kids would never see stuff or be pulled into stuff on-line but statistics tell us different.

Here are a few statistics about online safety and kids from enough.org

 

  • K-1st grade students access the Internet using various devices for a variety of purposes, including playing online games and communicating with other people. Online gaming is increasingly popular among younger students. (Rochester Institute of Technology, 2008)
  • 48 percent of students K-1st grade level interact with people on Web sites, while 50 percent show that their parents watch them when they use a computer, leaving the other half of those youngsters more prone to being exposed to predation behaviors or other threats posed by online strangers or even persons they know or regard as friends. (Rochester Institute of Technology, 2008)
  • 48 percent of K-1st reported viewing online content that made them feel uncomfortable, of which 72 percent reported the experience to a grownup, meaning that one in four children did not. (Rochester Institute of Technology, 2008)
  • 32 percent of teens clear the browser history to hide what they do online from their parents. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 16 percent have created private e-mail addresses or social networking profiles to hide what they do online from their parents. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 63 percent of teens said they know how to hide what they do online from their parents. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 43 percent have closed or minimized the browser at the sound of a parental step. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 11 percent have unlocked/disabled/ parental/filtering controls. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 52 percent of teens have given out personal information online to someone they don’t know offline including personal photos and/or physical descriptions of themselves (24 percent). Double the number of teen girls have shared photos or physical descriptions of themselves online as boys. (34 percent girls vs. 15 percent boys) (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)

You ask yourself what can I do about it? Here are 10 proven way you can keep your kids safe online.

The 10 Commandments of online safety for kids.

1. Thou shalt put the computer in a very public place
2. Remember thy password and keep it holy
3. Know thy children’s friends, buddies
4. Remember thy monitoring software and keep it active
5. Thou Shalt not allow thy children to post any graven images (photos) without thy permission
6. Thou shalt not allow any contact information to ever be given out
7. Thou shalt forbid any meeting in person with online buddies
8. Remember to check thy child’s history
9. Though shalt create a separate log in for each child (on a macon those other computers)
10. Thou shalt not close your eyes and hope for the best http://www.safetyweb.com/

Resources to help you keep your kids safe online

http://togetherville.com/

http://www.websafety.com/

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123238632055894993.html

http://enough.org/inside.php?id=2UXKJWRY8

7 Ways Orange Conference is different from other conferences

There are a lot of great conferences out there. People ask me all the time what conference they should go to. I never recommend a conference across the board because I feel each conference has a unique purpose.

If you were to ask me why you should go to the Orange Conference that’s a different question.

What makes Orange Conference Unique

1. They have breakouts for Children’s, Youth, and Senior leaders
2. They have resources but the conference is more about a philosophy than about their curriculum
3. They have a lot of sharp young leaders on their team that are pushing the innovation envelope all the time.
4. If you are looking for ways to connect with parents this is the conference for you.
5. Of all the kidmin conferences I’ve been to they do the best with the Large stage portion
6. I have gone the last three years and every year I have really enjoyed the Keynotes. I love how they put people on stage many kids pastors would be able to hear.
7. Every year Andy Stanley talks – You don’t get that at any other kidmin conference.