The Minnesota Twins beat the Red Sox recently, largely due to Red Sox fielding and throwing errors that led to several runs. It was a home game, so Twins fans cheered when the Red Sox failed to make routine plays. Far less cheering happened when the Twins made their routine plays. Often, in sports and business, a disproportionate amount of attention is placed on errors, rather than practice regimens.
The key to avoiding errors in organizational life is asking questions and train for errors. Pepper your team with questions, so that they’re prepared for unusual circumstances and know their answers in advance–before they take the field.
Warning: Sometimes when leaders ask so many probing questions, their team feels judged and not trusted.
Let your team know it is not about them; it is about digging deep and discovering what others leave undiscovered before it really does matter. Difficult plays become routine if they’ve been practiced enough. The goal is error-free play. And when your team turns in an error-free performance, there will be plenty to cheer about.