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Will Your Next Mistake Be Fatal? by Robert Mittelstaedt

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6. Cultures that Create “Accidents”

“Even if 80 percent of people resist me, I don’t care. I’m not a politician, so I don’t need to be elected based on popularity.”

—Yoichrio Kaizaki, CEO Bridgestone/Firestone, commenting on Firestone’s 1994 labor strife that led to quality problems49

We have examined a number of mistake chains that were related to execution or strategy in companies. We have also seen examples of physical disasters that were created or made worse by organizational cultures that failed to detect and correct mistakes that led to “accidents” that were really due more to incompetence and neglect than anything accidental.

There were some common traits in the mistake sequences in the physical disasters of Titanic, Three Mile Island ...

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