apologize instead of explain?

| | Comments (3)

At the web conference I heard a presenter say that one method for gaining adoption is to accept that it may be better (and easier) to apologize later rather than ask now.

Wow, does that punch my buttons. If you're familiar with the type and despise their simpering, harmful tactics too, this will be worse: she then went on to very cutely add, "...but I didn't say that."

I've heard the same from ranking officials who should be setting a better example.

I'm not for a moment advocating either mindless acceptance or any disapproval of civil disobedience. I'm advocating that people stand for what they believe and not do anything that they feel they will be sorry for. Disobey proudly. State your reasons boldly, and act for the good of the order. State why you did what you did and give your adversary a chance to justify or withdraw their position. To apologize is to have regrets- to say you are sorry. To use it as a spineless cover-up shows you to be characterless. And more, it educates no one.


gary said:

Preface: I did not attend the web conference, and thus do not have first-hand knowledge of the context for these comments.

I've heard the whole "I'd rather apologize than ask permission" line of thinking in the past, but only in relation to skirting bureaucratic processes. It seems like a terrible approach to peer-driven innovation adoption.

Not only could it be antithetical to a community approach, it's simply less likely to work: Everett Rogers' book "Diffusion of Innovations" details pretty clearly the "dissonance" that can occur when individuals feel they have been misled by pro-innovation messages.

For those in the business of introducing new ideas, it is likely worth the time to look into diffusion literature. Very interesting stuff.

dave said:

Good reference Gary, thanks; there's an excellent excerpt on Amazon- I think I'll get it.

... and unless someone gets the wrong idea, I especially despise the practice for GTD and skirting bureaucracy. If you see a problem in the system, stand up for change; otherwise the system continues to be managed by idiots. There's also the chance that the system is managed by a brilliance greater than your own, one that could point out your error if given an opportunity. We need to move beyond getting things done and start getting things done well.

dave said:

Story time; wishing comments took image tags...

It was the first day of summer,
ten hours past spring...
and VanItch let me know a most wonderful thing.

There was going to be a wedding, a Zook cook's dream.
and I was the cook, and I set the theme.
I'd pick the berries, I'd whip the cream.
The general's daughter was wedding
a Zook Back Room Boy.
and the entire Zook nation
was filed brimming with joy.

What would I cook for them I pondered all day
till very late I checked recipes, vexed with dismay.
All were good, but only one said, "Hooray!"
I'd serve the national dish;
Fruggle... simple... no clutter.
I'd serve homemade bread
all slathered with butter!

But what I knew best of the Boys from the Back Room
those who would stand, sit and eat right up next to the groom
is they took pride in each piece of their Zooky costume.
Each would eat his bread
with gloves on their hands;
then mingle with guests
filling social demands.

If the bread that they ate was served butter side down
as is the custom all over Zook farm, and Zook town,
each guest that night would leave with a frown.
The Boys in the Backroom
each eating a piece
wouldn't notice their gloves
had been covered with grease.

Each hand that they shook, each dance partner's dress
would pick up the grease and carry the mess.
The guests would leave that night in distress.
I knew what I'd do
for each boy and man.
It may cost my job, but
I'd come up with a plan.

I'd take each bread slice and put butter on top.
The Boys in the Backroom would see every drop
They'd shake and they'd dance and not need to stop!
But here is the question,
here is the test.
What would you do,
what do you think would be best?

Make it butter side up, apologizing later for the "gaffe"?
Or serve it up, and explain how it's in their behalf?
Or do nothing at all, like the rest of the staff?
I know what I'd do,
what I think is right-
but what would you do
on this wedding night?

Penn State
April 18, Symposium 2009; reimagine.
New content. Symposium 2008.Digital Commons at Penn State. Improve the workplace; hire for variety.


Blogging at Penn State. Podcasts at Penn State.

My del.icio.us Network:

Me with a camera.

My del.icio.us Links: