Tag: behaviour

I’m sorry. I’m about to change the world

We need to apologise more in business.

We need to be prepared to apologise more.

And we need to mean it when we say it.

Many, many people in business refuse to say sorry because they assume it means they accept full responsibility. (To be fair, there are enough people in business who are very much prepared to let someone else take the fall, so there is that.)

Saying sorry means they have something to apologise for. It means they stuffed up. Which makes them a failure. Which means no one will ever hire them. Which means their career is rooted. Just because they accepted responsibility for being five minutes late to a meeting.

It must be someone else’s fault.

In those situations, it’s very easy to create an environment where, for me to be right, you must be wrong.

For me to win, you have to lose.

All of which creates a very black and white environment.

Like the current political conversation. Or the environmental question.

It’s great for an argument down at the pub.

But arguments at the pub aren’t supposed to go anywhere. They’re supposed to go round and round. That’s what makes them fun.

Business doesn’t have that luxury.

All we have to do to change it is accept responsibility for our actions.

Offer genuine apologies, not buck passing acknowledgements.

Try it.

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry I didn’t get that done. I said I would, and I didn’t. I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for the frustration I’ve caused.

I’m sorry if you carried that frustration.

I’m sorry if I buggered up your day.

I’m sorry. I now see you were right.

I’m sorry. My lack of communication caused us to triple the work load – and I’d like to apologise for that.

I’m sorry I’ve been uncontactable when I said I would be.

I’m sorry. I’ve changed my mind. If I’d done it earlier, we could have all got some sleep. I’m sorry for that.

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for blaming someone else when it was my responsibility.

I’m sorry for blaming you.

I’m sorry for being a twat.

“I’m sorry” changes the conversation from one of blame to one where collaboration can start taking place.

“I’m sorry” allows people to reset their emotions.

“I’m sorry” might just put us all on the same team.

It might just be the two words that change the world.

And if it doesn’t, I’m sorry.

And if it does, I tell you what. I’ll let you take all the praise.

Cultural Cues


The Award for Most Popular

Waleed Ali won the Gold Logie last night for most popular TV personality in Australia.

Noni Hazlehurst was inducted into Australian Television’s Hall of Fame. Only the second woman to be inducted in over 30 years.

Indigenous Australia was more visible than it has been in a while with “The Secret River”, “Redfern Now” and “Ready For This” all getting gongs.

Hillary Clinton looks like she’s all but wrapped up the Democratic party nomination in the US election.

London has a new Muslim Mayor.

There are more female presenters on television than ever before.

It’s a sign of the tides.

People are getting recognition for their ability. Not their gender. Or the colour of their skin.

Hooray for that.

Not before time.


Every time someone breaks a societal chain, or busts a cultural convention, or shatters a glass ceiling, we hear people talking up the importance of role modelling. How African American children in the US can now believe they could be President. How women are slowly (glacially) achieving equality. How minority voices are getting heard.


Despite how we stand and applaud whenever someone says something we know instinctively to be right. Despite how proud we feel when the person on the soapbox says the thing we believe to be fair and just and true. Despite how good we feel when the world aligns with our values. Despite how much we love to hear people who have succeeded talk about how important cultural modelling is.

Despite all this.

Why do we not insist on feeling like this in our workplace?

To be clear.

I’m not talking about discrimination. Or fighting discrimination. Or triumphing over discrimination.

Or equity. Or racial or gender bias. (There are rules and laws and expectations which protect against overt and not-so-overt discrimination.)

I’m talking about something as simple as feeling good about ourselves. About aligning the promise of the organisation with the experience of it.

Feeling like our actions match our expectations.

Feeling like we should be able to reach for the moon every single day.  Like we can. Like we’re expected to.

We take our cultural cues from the people we admire. From the people who have leverage in our world. From our bosses and our peers.

All of the people mentioned at the start of this little piece seem to be in the game for more than just a pay packet and fame.

They seem to represent something bigger than themselves.

They seem to have a purpose. They seem to be fighting for something.

Something good.

Businesses and organisations with a defined purpose are more likely to be successful than those without. (Well that’s according to Forbes Business and Deloitte. The fine folk at Harvard agree. They also point to the importance of making the purpose obvious if you want to see the cultural and business benefits.)

If the people we work with are in it to make their world better, we want to help.

If the people we answer to are just in it for the money, chances are we will be too.