By now, everyone has heard that the Best Picture winner at the Academy Awards was initially announced incorrectly, awarding the highest honor to the wrong film before the ensuing chaos and correction. Presenter Warren Beatty was handed the wrong card, and he knew it. But instead of calling a "time out" and asking for clarification, he just showed it to his co-presenter Faye Dunaway and she called out the film that was listed on the card, incorrectly referring to the film of the Best Actress winner instead of the Best Picture recipient.
Beatty is like so many people -- who realize that something is amiss, but proceed anyway. The pressures of time, not "wanting to look stupid" or hesitation as you second guess yourself all work to allow mistakes to happen.
And so errors trickle down the line. Someone handed Beatty the wrong card and didn't catch it. Beatty knew it seemed odd but passed it to Dunaway. Only after she publicly read the wrong name did the chain stop.
Think of how you can create a culture in your organization where people have the time -- and the courage -- to question things down the line. It's one thing to speak up in a problem-solving meeting or brainstorming session, but another thing entirely to voice a problem discovered at a product launch or board gathering.
Reward your employees for following the TSA mantra: "If you see something, say something." Even if it's on international television while the drumroll is playing in the background.