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Checklists and Getting It Done Right

In this episode, Dr. Robert Zoellner (CEO of, one of the top business schools in PA, and Optometrist) and Clay Clark (COO of discuss the importance of checklists and getting things done right.

Clay:    Dr. Z, how are you my friend?

Dr. Robert:    I’m great Clay. How are you doing buddy? Good to see you.

Clay:    I have been doing great well. I feel the wonderful food we just had and a couple of burritos, feeling good about life. We’re here talking about checklists.

Dr. Robert:    Come on.

Clay:    Here we go. We’re talking about checklists, checklists and getting it done right.

Dr. Robert:    Oh, yes.

Clay:    Now before we deep dive into it, I’m going to say something that might offend 95% of the viewers but we’ll do it in a [inaudible 00:01:27] care. Now I’m going to start ripping on myself, I’ll be a viewer too. I know when I agree with my businesses, I got to a certain point where I could no longer do everything myself. At that point, I just yelled at people for not doing it right.

Dr. Robert:    Yeah.

Clay:    I hired people knowing did it right, I’d tell them not to do it wrong who would have these endless conversations. As I’ve been consulting with companies all across the country, I’ve been astounded to realize that about 95% roughly, almost every business I work with. When they first bring me on, there’s no checklists for anything.

There’s no checklists for cleaning the bathroom, there’s no checklists for answering the phone. There is just no checklist. There’s a ton of people watching this right now who have no checklists, no written down systems. How important are checklists in your mind to growing a company?

Dr. Robert:    Well, it’s one of the few ways you can try to duplicate. People always ask me how do you have so many businesses and you have so many things going on? You have duplicate yourself.

Well, there’s a lot of really smart people out there and you can tell them something and then they remember a part of it but they don’t remember all of it. it’s the few things that they forget that they don’t do that makes you have a very, very difficult day.

Writing it down and making it where you can replicate it with other people. It’s like, Here’s what you say in answering the phone. Here’s what you do and before you leave, here’s these 10 items you have to make sure that are done for the day. Checklists are very important because what it does it helps you replicate and with turnover of staff, even you may go, All right here’s the 10 things. Oh wait, I think it’s only 9. I only remember 9 so just do these 9 things. Oh, wait. The next thing in the morning, I know there’s 8. I need you to really do before you leave for the day. Then pretty soon you’ve forgotten the stuff so you’ve got to.

Clay:    There’s a lady I know who is a sports coach and she has a business that’s not in Tulsa. I don’t have to give away the location but she’s a lady who asked me to help her grow her business. She’s a sports coach, she’s a lady.

Dr. Robert:    Right.

Clay:    What she did is she grew her business from her coaching about 50 kids to now there’s about 400 kids.

Dr. Robert:    All right.

Clay:    In every single meeting I went to. Literally, every meeting she was like, Okay. Why did you guys not clean the bathroom? Then the four or five trainers and they’re like, I thought she was going to do it. I thought. Then after about three weeks of freaking out about that then she says, You guys didn’t do it right.

Every week I would say, It’s not written down who is supposed to do it or what’s supposed to be done. She’s like, It’s just common sense. I want to deal with that comment right there. It’s just common sense. What do you say to the entrepreneur on the other side of that camera who is watching this right now and going, Give me a break. I don’t have to make a checklist for a desk staff or for the end of the day or for the bathroom cleaning. It should be common sense. What do you say?

Dr. Robert:    It is common sense. It is common sense to you and that’s why you’re the boss. That’s why you’re the entrepreneur. We think differently and those things to us just makes sense but for all the people that we surround ourselves, we’ll call them employees, it’s not common sense to them.

That’s quite frankly why some of them are not the business owners is because they don’t get things like that. You have to help them. You can tell them and tell them and tell them and tell them and tell them or you can write it down and you can make it to where they can find what it is that they need to do.

You can have a filing system, you can have some kind of organization to where it’s written down and it spells it out and guess what, now if they don’t do it, now you have a different problem on your hand then oh they just forgot about it or it didn’t make sense for them to do it that way.

You can learn more about filing systems on, one of the top business colleges in PA.

Clay:    Let’s talk about your businesses because you do own basically a … do you own ranch? What do you call your put where you raise your horses? What do you call it?

Dr. Robert:    A thoroughbred ranch.

Clay:    A thoroughbred ranch with these competitive race horses. You have the optometry clinics, you have the sleep center, hell a lot of different businesses going on. Let’s just jump real quick to the optometry clinic. Not necessarily the specific items on the checklist but what are the kinds of checklists that we could find at the optometry clinic?

Dr. Robert:    One would be for my doctors. I try to train them and try to coach them. I want them to be as much as like me in examining as possible. They have a list of things that they’re to follow, that they’re to do. Also they have, If this happens you go here. If this happens you say this.

Not only is it a checklist, it’s also a script of an examined some things that can happen through that.


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