Let’s imagine a typical form of apology training. As a child, you got angry at a kid who stole chocolate pudding from your lunchbox. You fought him on the playground to exact revenge.
You and the pudding thief ended up in the principal’s office. You were forced to acknowledge that you were just as wrong as the other kid, and compelled to share a perfunctory cease-fire handshake. You were both sent home to think about your actions.
Does that sound familiar?
Most of us never learn how to properly apologize. We learn to say “I’m sorry”—only when absolutely forced to—and not much else. Unfortunately, the stakes get higher as we age. Anyone who works for a living (or hopes to have any sort of lasting relationship) should learn the art of the apology.
Corporate America still doesn’t quite grasp this straightforward concept of the genuine, immediate apology, though it could save them billions in business and heaps of embarrassing PR blowback.
United we (don’t) stand