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Will Your Next Mistake Be Fatal? by Robert Mittelstaedt

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5. Physical Disasters with Cultural Foundations and Business Implications

“The last line of defense against errors is usually a safety system.”

—Columbia Accident Investigation Board 200324

We have seen a number of business mistake chains related to execution, strategy, or both. We have hinted that some of these, such as Xerox, Intel, and Kodak, also involved strong cultural underpinnings that made it easier for a mistake chain to start and/or continue, whereas cultural forces helped save a company like J&J from what could have been a disaster. In this and two subsequent chapters, we will examine the cultural context for mistakes because this turns out to be one of the strongest forces driving multiple-mistake scenarios, regardless of industry. ...

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