While the potential for various mechanical and electronic failures is always on the mind of everyone involved with large and ambitious space endeavors, these are always treated as challenges that need to be overcome, rather than as deterrents.
Leaders have a choice. Either they can complacently model and allow zombie like incuriosity and non inventiveness or they can model and encourage McGyver like ingenuity. With that choice about learning dynamic, they are choosing between failure and success.
We like to separate the Apollo and Shuttle eras in our mind (and the five-year interregnum period without crewed flights makes it easy to), but in 1981, Apollo was still part of recent memory, with many key players like Young and Kranz still working at NASA.