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silent failure

Tolerance of silent failure in organizations is a reliable indication that they will totally fail to meet their objectives. It is reasonably used as a criteria by donors, volunteers, advisors, and others to withdraw from an organization, if silent failures especially by manager or executive level persons are being tolerated at all in any circumstances.

Examples of silent failure include:
  • refusal to raise issues that prevent participation or to resign from the group one cannot participate in
  • failing to notify peers or collaborators of loss of any major financing or contract in time to replace it or to deal with it before service/mission failures begin to occur
  • letting deadlines for nomination pass with a major post unfilled

Raising issues that prevent performance before deadline dates actually occur is not silent failure even if there is no time to deal with the issue before the date. Introducing new performance conditions or adding new constraints or requirements - "scope creep" - may have occurred or simply be being reported, so it is difficult to lay blame in any such circumstances.