Failing in Public


Something you don’t see every day…a headline, sincere, unqualified apology for getting something wrong. Dr. Bret Simmons has one of my favourite Leadership blogs (in fact, the only one I subscribe to). I opened up my RSS folder for his blog to be treated to a distinctive failure embrace titled “My Apology to Dr. Michael Haynie”…

  • “Mike, I am truly very sorry. I told our speakers and my team that if a problem occurred we would stop the show. In the heat of the moment, I did not follow my own rules. I should have stopped the show and let Dr. Haynie start over. I also should have taken the stage that day and publicly apologized to Dr. Haynie, my team, and our audience. This chain of events was a systemic failure that manifest itself in my behavior both before and during the event. I made myself responsible for holding my team accountable for performing their designated roles, but I did not make anyone responsible for holding me accountable. This is a fundamental leadership principle that I profess but am still working on implementing in my own life.”

Bret’s post is a blueprint for an apology – candid, sincere, humble, public. Enough explanation to ensure that the matter has been properly investigated but no so much as to appear defensive. And reflective of lessons learned and committed to future improvement.

I don’t know about Mike, but I more than forgive you, Bret. I applaud you.