When you write a report or a blog post, how many times do you read it over before submitting it? Once? Twice? Maybe three times? And do typos still sneak in from time to time? Of course they do.
The problem is that we’re terrible at spotting our own mistakes. And although a typo in a blog post isn’t the end of the world, an error in the code for a nuclear missile launch could be.
Make something stronger by breaking it
In order to spot catastrophic mistakes, organizations exposed to huge risks use red teams. A red team is made up of a collection of experts who try to break a system and expose its weak spots.
For example, airports have red teams attempt to smuggle bombs past security. If a team is successful in getting an explosive on board an aircraft, they can explain how they did it, and the security gap can be closed.
But anyone can use the principle of red teams: whether you’re filling in a job application or writing code, get others to check your work and find those hidden weak spots.
To discover more about the value of red teams – including how they were instrumental in finding Osama Bin Laden – check out the blinks to Red Team, by Micah Zenko.