If the Shoe Fits: Do You Apologize?

If the Shoe Fits: Do You Apologize?

Post from: MAPpingCompanySuccess

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mLast week I wrote about the power found in vulnerability, today I have a different question for you.

What do you do when you screw up?

Do you

  1. grin, bear and ignore;
  2. rationalize;
  3. deny; or
  4. apologize.

The creed of authenticity demands you choose ‘d’, but in practice many founders are more likely to choose ‘a, ‘b’ or ‘c’.

Netflix’s Reed Hastings chose ‘d’ and did it with candor, solid information, no punches pulled or rationalizations and in a very public way.

“I messed up,” Mr. Hastings wrote in an unusually forthright September 2011 blog post. (…) In hindsight, I slid into arrogance based upon past success. (…) I wasn’t naïve enough to think most customers care if the C.E.O. apologizes, but I thought it was honest and appropriate.”

He made three other good points that are worth remembering

  • “Don’t get distracted by the shiny object,” he said. And if a crisis comes, “execute on the fundamentals.”
  • “…we don’t manage for the stock price.”
  • “Executing better on the core mission is the way to win.”

Most importantly, he doesn’t see himself or Netflix as infallible and admits that another wrong turn could kill them.

There are a lot of founders who should take heed of his attitude and his words.

Image credit: HikingArtist

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