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Kevin & Jackie Freiberg

The Art of Apology

If it’s human to be wrong then why do we find it so difficult to apologize? Especially when our mistakes are obvious. We teach our kids to fess up and apologize. Then fail to do the same.

Reading this blog from Iconoculture reminded me of Amazon Founder, Jeff Bezos, who masterfully demonstrated the art of the apology. Don’t quite know why Bezos’ apology hit me so hard. Perhaps it’s because I wonder if I would have the humility, remorse, and confidence to do the same when I screw up—which is often. Or, maybe it’s because we see so little of this among business leaders, physicians, and politicians today who fear that vulnerability leads to litigation or worse, tarnished image.

In any case, I suspect that many will be endeared to Amazon because of Jeff’s humility and courage.

I’m with Iconoculture, what would happen if your banker, doctor, cell phone provider, attorney, airline, etc. called to say, “I’m sorry.” Perhaps we would extend a little grace and take a step toward some of the civility we’ve lost in this country.

jeff bezosThis is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our “solution” to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles. It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we’ve received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.

With deep apology to our customers,

Jeff Bezos
Founder & CEO, Amazon.com

What about you? Do  you immediately admit and apologize when you’re wrong? Or do you make excuses and blame others?

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