Drawing on broad lessons from US military and commercial aviation, special operations, nuclear propulsion, oil & natural gas exploration and chemical processing, this paper examines a set of consistent key principles which suggest that error is a natural and inescapable characteristic of tasking and that reliability, while not synonymous with safety, is found in operational resiliency.

Historically, individuals and groups of people with clear vision and good intention to achieve success have overlooked a keystone truth. Their belief is that error is failure when in fact it is not. In truth, human error can be an organizational resource for creating reliability, improving operations and attaining resilience. Wrongly, we presume that if we can eliminate error we will eliminate failure. This mindset permeates the very fabric of an organization and creates friction between leadership and delivery.

After decades of studying organizational behavior, professionals at Vetergy have observed the profound struggle between management trying to get operators to perform reliably and skilled workers attempting to get leadership to understand the operational realities they face.

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