"When you screw up and almost hurt yourself or someone else, it's human nature to hide it and not bring it up to your supervisor," he explained. "But near misses are the early-warning system. It's OK to report a near miss. There won't be any disciplinary action. I frequently have to stand up later and say I'm so glad you reported the near miss because now we have a better environment."
In competitive sports, you either measure up or you get left behind. It's as simple as that. If a top-seed tennis player twists an ankle, too bad - they lose out. Being fit and competitive is the only thing that matters. There is zero room for weakness.
To a degree, business works like this too - people only have so many dollars to spend and you want to be sure they're spending it on your products or services, not someone else's. The culture's slowly starting to change, but there's a still general management focus on employees as disposable tools that, if they can't perform to expectations for whatever reason, become unwanted burdens.
There are few fields shy of sports and war, though, that are as competitive and narrowly-focused as politics.
In politics, you don't just stumble - you open yourself to attack by opponents. No one wants to be attacked by opponents, which is why picking fights proactively and maintaining as closed a profile a possible is so popular.
Mistakes are not allowed to air, or if they do, get spun as being something other than mistakes. Dissension from within, even if it's constructive criticism, really isn't welcomed - it becomes a distraction from existing narratives.
Think about this for a second. Everyone, whatever their ideological bent, gets really really worked up at one piece of government ineffectiveness or other. Is this an indication of "doing something right" because you've clearly found the middle ground? Well, no - avoidable strikes, wasted dollars, fruitless programs, inefficiencies that stem from poor management and silo-based system structure, facts ignored in favour of ideology, etc, etc. undermine the efficacy of government.
The system works the way it was designed to work, but it was designed centuries ago. A few things may have happened since then.
Instead of focusing on the structural challenges facing government, though, we stick it to political parties. This leader is the worst person ever, that one is the only one to right the ship. One narrow approach replaces another while whole hosts of problems are allowed to fester.
You can't solve a problem using the same logic you used to get into it. This is where we stand - it's not the Parties that are the problem, but the system itself that's in need of an overhaul.
The sad part is, so few people at the top of the chain are listening. They're too busy tip-toeing around near-misses to pay attention.