You are weak just when you are proudest of your strength

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From Mr Peter B. Hirsch.

Sir, Martin Sandbu’s commentary “Lessons we can all learn from tragic examples of failure” (August 16) skilfully weighs the balance of individual and system responsibility for tragic failures. The Breivik bombing and gun massacre of which he writes joins a terrible catalogue of events – the Challenger disaster, 9/11 – for each of which, in hindsight, we had plenty of warning signs.

He highlights the importance of probing for potential weaknesses, but I have found that the most fruitful inquiries focus on the things organisations believe they do superbly well. There, coiled and lying in wait, is the serpent, hubris, blinding us to our true flaws.

Peter B. Hirsch, Director, Reputation Risk, Ogilvy Public Relations, New York, NY, US

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