Apology

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Apologies can be powerful motivators and an important components of a will to resolve. Here are some thoughts and observations on critical aspects of apologies and their effective application.

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  • Is this an apology? To whom? The right audience? Tone? How could it be made better? Blind to his bigotry? How would you work with him to persuade/convince him to make an effective apology and how should it be worded?
  • Q: Who is/should be the audience? Q: What’s good about it? Q: What is needed to make it better?
  • Apology

    1. 1. The Power of Apology Copyright 2003, Lou Chang
    2. 2. Rush Limbaugh Comments re: Donovan McNabb <ul><li>“ The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well….he got a lot of credit that he didn’t deserve.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ My comments…were directed at the media and were not racially motivated… I offered an opinion. This opinion has caused great discomfort to the crew, which I regret… I love [the show] and do not want to be a distraction…. Therefore, I have decided to resign [from ESPN]. I… wish all the best to those who make it happen.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ If I wasn’t right, there wouldn’t be this cacophony of outrage that has sprung up in the sports writer community.” </li></ul>
    3. 3. Arnold Schwarzenegger after 6 women report sexual harassment <ul><li>“ Yes, its true that I was on rowdy movie sets and I have done things that were not right, which I thought was playful but now I recognize that I offended people. Those people that I offended, I want to say to them I am deeply sorry about that and I apologize because that’s not what I’m trying to do.” </li></ul><ul><li>From now on, I will be a “champion for the women.” </li></ul>
    4. 4. Robert Kekaula after assaulting his boss on TV News 8 <ul><li>Angered by technical difficulties on air and after being called a fat a__ by his executive producer, Kekaula grabs him by the neck or collar and pins him against a desk </li></ul><ul><li>“ I’m not going to defend myself because I can’t. I shouldn’t have touched him. I’m wrong.” </li></ul><ul><li>Kekaula calls his boss the evening of the incident and leaves an apology on the answering machine, promising that it would never happen again </li></ul><ul><li>“ I blew it big time. I lost my dream job.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I’ll never touch anyone again, never.” </li></ul>
    5. 5. Elements of a good apology <ul><li>Acknowledge the offense. Expression of remorse, understanding and regret for pain caused, expressed with honesty sincerity & humility </li></ul>
    6. 6. Elements of a good apology <ul><li>Acknowledge the offense. Expression of remorse, understanding and regret for pain caused, expressed with honesty sincerity & humility </li></ul><ul><li>Suggest, offer to make amends, follow through </li></ul>
    7. 7. Elements of a good apology <ul><li>Acknowledge the offense. Expression of remorse, understanding and regret for pain caused, expressed with honesty sincerity & humility </li></ul><ul><li>Suggest, offer to make amends, follow through </li></ul><ul><li>No excuses </li></ul>
    8. 8. Elements of a good apology <ul><li>Acknowledge the offense. Expression of remorse, understanding and regret for pain caused, expressed with honesty sincerity & humility </li></ul><ul><li>Suggest, offer to make amends, follow through </li></ul><ul><li>No excuses </li></ul><ul><li>OK to explain & affirm intentions not to hurt </li></ul>
    9. 9. Elements of a good apology <ul><li>Acknowledge the offense. Expression of remorse, understanding and regret for pain caused, expressed with honesty sincerity & humility </li></ul><ul><li>Suggest, offer to make amends, follow through </li></ul><ul><li>No excuses </li></ul><ul><li>OK to explain & affirm intentions not to hurt </li></ul><ul><li>Apologize publicly to group and privately to person offended </li></ul>
    10. 10. Elements of a good apology <ul><li>Acknowledge the offense. Expression of remorse, understanding and regret for pain caused, expressed with honesty sincerity & humility </li></ul><ul><li>Suggest, offer to make amends, follow through </li></ul><ul><li>No excuses </li></ul><ul><li>OK to explain & affirm intentions not to hurt </li></ul><ul><li>Apologize publicly to group and privately to person offended </li></ul><ul><li>Commitment to the relationship </li></ul>
    11. 11. Elements of a good apology <ul><li>Acknowledge the offense. Expression of remorse, understanding and regret for pain caused, expressed with honesty sincerity & humility </li></ul><ul><li>Suggest, offer to make amends, follow through </li></ul><ul><li>No excuses </li></ul><ul><li>OK to explain & affirm intentions not to hurt </li></ul><ul><li>Apologize publicly to group and privately to person offended </li></ul><ul><li>Commitment to the relationship </li></ul><ul><li>Assurance of no repetition </li></ul>
    12. 12. Barriers to an effective apology <ul><li>Embarrassment </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of face </li></ul><ul><li>Admission of guilt or legal responsibility </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledgment that went too far </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of power, one-up </li></ul><ul><li>Sign of weakness, fear of vulnerability </li></ul><ul><li>Fear of repetition </li></ul>
    13. 13. Kobe Bryant’s apology after criminal case dropped <ul><li>&quot;First, I want to apologize directly to the young woman involved in this incident. I want to apologize to her for my behavior that night and for the consequences she has suffered in the past year. Although this year has been incredibly difficult for me personally, I can only imagine the pain she has had to endure. I also want to apologize to her parents and family members, and to my family and friends and supporters, and to the citizens of Eagle, Colo. </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;I also want to make it clear that I do not question the motives of this young woman. No money has been paid to this woman. She has agreed that this statement will not be used against me in the civil case. Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter. </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;I issue this statement today fully aware that while one part of this case ends today, another remains. I understand that the civil case against me will go forward. That part of this case will be decided by and between the parties directly involved in the incident and will no longer be a financial or emotional drain on the citizens of the state of Colorado.&quot; </li></ul>
    14. 14. Benefits of effective apology <ul><li>Restorative, healing of relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Simple, cheap </li></ul><ul><li>Worth money, reduces need for money </li></ul><ul><li>Release of negative acidic effect on body, reduction of stress </li></ul><ul><li>Health benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce desire for punitive damages </li></ul><ul><li>Open way to forgiveness </li></ul><ul><li>Closure & progression </li></ul>
    15. 15. Motivating apologies <ul><li>“ Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for your enemy to die.” Nelson Mandela </li></ul><ul><li>Where do you want to be after this is done? </li></ul><ul><li>Are you the victim or hero in this story? </li></ul><ul><li>Life is short. Can life be made better with…? </li></ul><ul><li>Can there be positive benefits if…? </li></ul><ul><li>Its not a fun way to live. We can reduce the burden… </li></ul><ul><li>Explore contingent commitments. What if… </li></ul>
    16. 16. <ul><li>“The past is not erased, but the present is changed.” Carl D. Schneider, Ph. D. </li></ul>

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