Figaro has been going around the country telling corporations not to apologize. Has he gone to the dark side? Hardly! In fact, we think corporations would endear us to them a whole lot more if they stopped apologizing, followed his directions to the letter, and paid him lavishly for the privilege.
Bloomberg Businessweek offers a fine example. It’s a truly great magazine—one that has undergone a wonderful renaissance. (Full disclosure: the magazine did a profile of us last year. But we were loving the magazine before that. Honest.) Its most recent cover, though, is awful. Click on the thumbnail to see the full image.
The magazine, predictably and mistakenly, apologized:
Our cover illustration last week got strong reactions, which we regret. Our intention was not to incite or offend. If we had to do it over again we’d do it differently.
What’s wrong with that? Let us show you how to do it right.
- When you screw up, you need to switch quickly to the future tense. Say what you’re going to do to fix it.
- Don’t mention the reaction to your idiocy. Ever. It sounds like you’re apologizing for people being oversensitive to your wit and risk-taking. Nothing’s worse than an insincere-sounding apology. The problem is, an apology is never enough for an angry audience. Instead…
- Focus on your values and standards and say how you temporarily slipped. Remind people how awesome you usually are and how you’re going to get back to that awesomeness, stat.
- Present a plan for restoring awesomeness. Give it a short timetable.
And do it without cartoons making fun of people of color. Got it?