If you remember the Academy Awards last year, it ended with the wrong film being announced as the Best Picture winner. It was a major faux pas that overshadowed the honor as well as the rest of the show.

The accounting firm responsible for the error (PwC) and the Academy have gone to great lengths to ensure that it doesn’t happen again on Sunday night. They have been meeting since last year’s show to develop new processes to prevent a repeat of the error. Among the new procedures: The presenters will confirm their envelope has the right category before they step up to the podium and this process will be overseen by a third person; PwC staff will be attending rehearsals plus another partner will be in the control room monitoring the show, and there is a new protocol for what to do if something does go wrong.

All of this is seems to be an overcorrection for a mistake that already occurred. Why wasn’t any of this in place to prevent the error in the first place?

It’s easy to jump in and develop a host of recommendations in retrospect. The goal should be to have double checks in place to prevent an issue from happening at all. Instead of going overboard and creating a multitude of procedures to correct one problem that occurred, how can your organization take a balanced approach to anticipating points of possible error and mitigating them from the start?

Keep the spotlight of your diligence diffused across the stage instead of only shining on one small spot.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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