"I Apologize"

Pride goeth before the fall—I just made that up. Okay, I didn't, but here's my corollary: "If in doubt ... apologize."

"I'm sorry" goes a long, long way and defuses many a volatile situation, and helps avoid many a severed personal or business relationship.

I was recently in an equivocal situation. There was a screw-up of some significance. I was "party" to the problem, but I do truly think I'm but 10% of the reason for the mess. But why the hell let something fester? I decided to take the heat; I not only apologized, but penned (yes, "penned") a note of apology which I FedExed to the aggrieved party.

I did feel awful for the mess, no matter whose doing it was—so the whole thing was genuine. And I'd add: It "worked." That is, a breach that could have widened or deepened was not only avoided, but the aftermath was a more positive relationship than before.

Whose fault was it? Truly? Truly: It doesn't matter a wit. It's seldom clear whose fault it is—except to your ego. As I said before: Pride goeth before the fall. ("Pride maketh the fall"—not too pretty, but that one is mine.)

Tom Peters posted this on August 29, 2006, in Strategies.
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