There's a lot of public apologies lately. Tiger Woods and Akio Toyoda are among the most recent. Tiger for family values/morality issues. Akio Toyoda on behalf of a company that made serious product safety mistakes. They apologize because human nature desires an honest acknowledgment of wrongdoing, of the mistakes made regardless of intent and acceptance of responsibility to rebuild damaged/stressed relationships. We all know how it feels when we are wronged, harmed or unexpectedly impacted by another person's actions. We can all understand the power of apology.
Business is about relationships. It's always about working with people and people have emotional reactions, can feel unappreciated and unmotivated, and can take things personally. Business, yes even IT business can never be just about the work and the numbers. It's relationships that gets you your next client. It's relationships that help you complete a project on time and on budget.
1. Be sincere and kind.
2. Based on the situation and person/people involved select appropriate method--in person, note, phone, etc.
3. Don't make excuses or blame others. Simply state the situation and state the mistake you made.
4. Yes, you have to actually say "I'm sorry."
5. Remember the goal is to acknowledge, accept responsibility and reassure that the same mistake won't be repeated.
Apologizing does not make you a weak consultant or person. It makes you a strong one. One who can admit fault so that everyone can move on and work together well to deliver the best results. We all make mistakes. It's a bigger mistake to not own up to it.
Here's another example of apologizing. What are your thoughts on business apologies and how has it helped you in your work life?