The Pros and Cons of a Public Apology

by Joe Lavelle on February 19, 2010

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dominos-pizza-logo

In my blogging, my focus is largely on the individual.  What can you do to offer a jump start to your career?  What changes can you make that will show your employer just how indispensable you are?  However, sometimes it is helpful to look at companies as a whole and determine what we should … or should not … be doing based on the examples they provide.

I have been struck by the recent ad campaign from Domino’s pizza.  Have you seen these commercials?  The president and other executives of the company discuss the horrible reviews they have been getting from everyday consumers about the quality of their product and then return to these same critics with what they believe is an improved product.  Naturally, the previously dissatisfied customers are shocked to see upper management at their front door holding a pizza!

As a recent article in The Washington Post states, “Domino’s very public admission of its own awfulness might be the most elaborate mea culpa ad in history.”  The writer goes on to point out other companies, including airlines, car manufacturers, and even football teams, that also have offered public apologies for their poor products and services.

In terms of the individual, I am a strong advocate of taking responsibility when you do not perform as expected.  And, this admission of falling short must come with specific steps that you intend to take to improve the situation.  You must be accountable for your actions if you ever hope to reach your potential for lasting professional success.

In anticipation of Tiger Woods‘ first step toward an apology today, what do you think about the value of a public apology?  Is this an effective way for businesses to win back clients or customers?  Or, do you run the risk of reminding people why they don’t like your company in the first place?

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