Doing hard things means more than recruiting assets aka "spies."
The sheer busyness of those that are concerned with the enterprise works against those that can do the job and lead as well. They encounter the duds, generally when something moderate- to important hasn't been done. Then the leader has a choice to address the person or put them aside. Dealing with the dud will take time, effort, and energy - all limited resources desperately needed elsewhere, and there are few that defend themselves more aggressively than the mediocre. Does Laura burn that time/effort/energy in correcting the dud, or does the mission take precedence?
It's a question (or a course of action) that's both situational and highly individual - sometimes things are so critical that the dud is the lesser of two (or more) evils. But budgeting some time later to circle back and address the dud in the most terrible way (with paperwork they can neither excuse nor explain) can reduce their numbers.
The situation is far more complex, of course. Duds often band together when they're threatened. But the paperwork can be a way to reduce their promotion potential.
Laura - you've hit on some really important points. These are complex issues but they boil down to having leaders doing what's right for the organization and not necessarily themselves.