This is the third in the series on apology. It is fortuitus that I found another blog entry just today on Public Apology.
For a look at the apology in the public arena, three items,
one from Harvard Business Review and two from Bernaisesauce.
HB Working Knowledge, A Framework for Apologies
by Barbara Kellerman
Here are some questions that can guide your approach.
- What function would a public apology serve?
- Who would benefit from an apology?
- Why would an apology matter?
- What happens if you apologize publicly?
- What happens if you don’t apologize?
from “When Should a Leader Apologize—and When Not?” Harvard Business Review, Vol. 84, No. 4, April 2006.
And from Bernaise Source
Apologizing in the New Media Age… quoting DPK Public Relations
- Take responsibility as soon as possible. Apologize as soon after the offense as possible.
- Describe what you did. Don’t be vague or use euphemisms that attempt to tidy up your mess. A short, direct statement is perfect followed by a brief explanation of the circumstances surrounding it to provide context.
- Express remorse. Make your apology as heartfelt as you can without assuming liability. Tone is important here. The statement must reflect genuine remorse.
- Shut up. Afterward, be quiet and listen while people tell you how angry they are. If it’s really bad, they’ll call for your head. Know that you’ve done the right thing and time is on your side.
- Make it right. In such situations, what you DO always trumps what you SAY. Therefore, symbolic gestures matter. Your attempts to correct the problem and compensate those who have been wronged are essential. However, be careful not to promise more than you can deliver…
And again from bernaisesauce an entertaining rif on the sincerity of recent public apologies:
Apology Notes: A Rating Sytem
Red heart – heart felt apology accompanied by meaningful
change in action beyond what was expected
Clear heart – the apology is sincere, with no game changing
action beyond what was expected
Broken heart – meaningless apology mailed in by a PR
department or publicist where bad actions continue