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The art of the corporate apology

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The art of the corporate apology

There was a terrific piece by Daniel Finkelstein in The Times the other day about apologies.

The Fink’s conclusion? They just make things worse, in politics anyway.

Finkelstein isn’t saying that apologies shouldn’t be made; he is just saying they don’t work. He offers a spoof apology from Twitter character Bob Servant by way of example:

“Sorry to all who saw that. I was excited to be back playing and am an aggressive player who revels in the physical, rough and tumble side of the game but that was inexcusable.

The red mist descended and I lashed out. Apologies to those injured and to the wider badminton community.”

Why don’t apologies work? Because people think they aren’t sincere. But I wonder if that isn’t just media-induced cynicism.

And I think it may apply less in the corporate world than it does in politics.

If a company CEO says sorry, sincerely, I think we might be inclined to think (s)he means it.

In 2010 BP CEO Tony Hayward tried to say sorry for the Deepwater Horizon disaster which cost 11 lives. Unfortunately, this spilled into him saying he wanted his life back.

Management Today wrote a piece afterwards about How Not To Say Sorry.

Forbes reckons the most powerful words that can come out of a CEO’s mouth are “I’m sorry” and offers examples of apologies done well.

Press release of the day

Black Friday is the perfect opportunity for ransomware attacks says this from SonicWall. Cyber crime is on the up, it seems clear.

Dmitriy Ayrapetov at SonicWall says: “Cybercriminals are relentless in their search for profit. Ransomware holds organizations business operations hostage, which uniquely impacts retailers and other organizations that provide daily, direct services to their customers. Such attacks directly affect the victim’s revenue generation and thus provide additional leverage to the attackers in extracting the ransom.”


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