Monday, June 14, 2010

How To Make An Authentic Apology

Lee Taft of Taft Solutions is an apology consultant (which just might be a growth industry) - - he helps companies admit their mistakes even when the confession creates lawsuit liability. Taft is a graduate of both Harvard Law School and Harvard Divinity School - - a unique combination that allows him to focus on the legal issues, but at the same time understand the moral need to address the victims and their needs. Taft is currently teaching this summer at the University of Texas in Austin.

Taft has published the following guidelines and steps for making an apology and meaning it (be sure your actually have something to apologize for!!) - -
  • Stabilize the situation - - give the necessary care. Fix the customer's problem.

  • Investigate - - find out what really happened.

  • Communicate - - tell people what you're doing, when you'll report back, and then do it.

  • Disclose - - if there is no fault, there's no reason to apologize.

  • Admit the mistakes and apologize - - it facts show fault.

  • Create a plan to repair the harm.

  • Change the system so this doesn't happen again - - but remember the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. A person or group can forgive you and choose not to return to a relationship with you. But would you resume a relationship with someone who had caused you great harm and had not accounted for the harm caused?

Taft provides a critique of BP's Tony Hayward as quoted in the Dallas Morning News on June 13, 2010 - - "He promotes the fact that this is the largest cleanup effort in history. Well, why is that? Is that because this is the largest oil spill in history? He doesn't offer an explanation. What specifically did BP and/or others do that caused this? BP and Hayward should have acknowledged that no words or apology can adequately respond to the disaster."

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