Simple Checklists

When helping a client solve performance issues that impact their bottom line, it is important to really understand the gaps between the current performance and desired performance.

The challenge: A Jeep tour company wanted to ensure that the guides provided consistent service. The initial request was to develop guide training, to make sure that all guides had the right information prior to running tours.

The process: I started by identifying specific areas of performance need, and identified what information and training guides received prior to conducting tours. The current practice was for a seasoned guide to take the new guide on an abbreviated tour to show them the trail and explain what to do on a tour. This was followed with the new guide riding along on an actual tour to see the experienced guide in practice with guests.

The findings:
Guides needed to consistently:

  • Report mechanical issues before they become points of failure or safety issues.
  • Demonstrate knowledge or confidence with appropriate operation of the Jeep features.
  • Follow appropriate safety or hazard procedures.
  • Prepare the Jeeps prior to the tour (cleanliness, mechanical checks, guest amenities, etc.)
  • Follow all road or trail requirements.
  • Clean their Jeep at the conclusion of the tour.

The solution:

Part1: I identified key tasks that guides needed to perform before, during, and at the conclusion of the tour, then developed a checklist of these tasks. Each guide was required to perform the pre-tour checklist before receiving the keys. The checklist was then kept in the Jeep during the tour, and the completed checklist was returned with the keys after the conclusion of the tour. See the checklist below (note, logo and some specific details have been modified for inclusion on my web page). As a result, potential mechanical issues were reported much sooner and could be remedied before the jeep was taken into the field. Additionally, guides were less likely to forget key components of guest comfort or safety.


Part 2: I examined the current training. It was determined that on-the-job training was the most impactful way to train new guides. However, the format was changed; instead of new guides observing experienced guides, the new guides would drive while the experienced guide “trainer” monitored performance and provided feedback. This applied to both the initial 1:1 and the guest ride-along.

Similar to the tour checklist, a training checklist was developed to ensure consistency in what the trainer looked for and was demonstrated to the new guide. Each trainer was required to observe and/or ask the new guide to explain how to perform each item on the list. New guides were not allowed to lead solo tours until they could demonstrate that they could perform all items on both checklists.