Last week, I posted a sample page from our upcoming book, entitled Answers to 100 Best Business Questions from 100 Best-Selling Business Books
Randy Mayeux and I are really excited about our the book, which attempts to answer questions that our clients have in areas such as customer service, management, leadership, teamwork, communication skills, and strategy. The answers come from books that we have presented over the years at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas. Each question and answer fits on exactly one page.
Here is another sample for you to read, that asks a new question, and gives a new answer.
How can I apologize to someone in an effective way?
Battistella, Edwin. (2014). Sorry about that: The language of public apology. New York: Oxford University Press.
Many of us say “I’m sorry” or “Sorry!” every day. But, very few us really get that message across in a meaningful way. In this book, Edwin Battistella gives practical advice for giving a proper apology. Here are three quotes from the book:
“Saying ‘I’m sorry’ is different from saying ‘I apologize.’ The former reports on an internal state of the speaker but does not literally perform an apology….By itself, the minimal report ‘I’m sorry’..or, the simple ‘Sorry’…doesn’t tell us much” (p. 58).
“Regret…also reports an speaker’s internal state….regret in ways that merely report on situations without assuming agency for them….a speaker [can] regret a situation but not assume responsibility for it” (p. 61).
“Sorry is too personal for some professional and business exchanges, while regret is usually too impersonal and detached for condolences” (p. 62).
So, what does it take for an apology to be effective and succeed? There are two parts: ethically – by admitting moral wrongdoing and expressing regret, and socially – by making amends with the offended party. Apologies can fail on either count too, and key to the outcome is the language the apologizer uses.
And finally, consider this: “The expressions ‘I was wrong’ and ‘Forgive me’ are also sometimes taken to imply apologies. ‘I was wrong’ concedes error. ‘Forgive me’ asks for reconciliation. To conversationally cooperative listeners, either can imply the full apology process….When we shortcut a full apology by merely saying ‘I was wrong,’ we are relying on the naming of the offense to perform the work of the apology without the sorry-saying. And when we shortcut a full apology with ‘Forgive me,’ we are jumping directly to the response step of the process” (p. 65).
I want to spend some time talking about the August 1 BONUS PROGRAM at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas. My topic is:
The bonus program runs from 8:30-9:30 a.m.
The fee is only $5 , and all proceeds will be donated to TAKE TIME TO READ, a literacy program sponsored by the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children
Participants are given the opportunity to donate funds for children’s books at an average of $15 each.
You must register for the First Friday Book Synopsis in order to attend the bonus program. To do that, simply click here.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM: Giving a sincere apology is not the same as speaking in defense of yourself. They are different contexts, representing different challenges, and requiring different skills. Learn to do both in this bonus program. You will learn four strategies for speaking in defense of yourself, as modeled by famous Americans who did so. You will learn how to give a genuine apology and how to say it like you mean it. All participants will receive printed resources for both topics.
ABOUT THE CHARITY: Scottish Rite Masons across Texas are discovering the many rewards of reading to youngsters. As part of the Take Time To Read program, Texas Masons are teaming up with their local libraries and schools to read to children, collect books through book drives, and reap the rewards of glowing eyes, smiling faces and eager listeners. Reading experts agree that reading aloud to children may be one of the most important things that adults can do to prepare kids for success in school. Their vocabulary is enriched, they learn new information, and the experiences of their world are expanded, Being read to can create a love for books and generate a desire to read. As facilitator of this bonus program, I am a 30-year member of the Dallas Scottish Rite Bodies, and was honored in 2013 with the Knight Commander Court of Honor (32o KCCH), wearing the red hat in the picture above.
The picture to the right is from last year’s First Friday Book Synopsis bonus program where I posed with the Take Time to Read Director from the Scottish Rite Hospital. We collected donations to buy 31 children’s books at an average of $15 each.
Gene Siskel used to say his favorite movies were about what people actually do all day. That’s what “Secretariat” is. It pays us the compliment of really caring about thoroughbred racing. In a low-key way, it conveys an enormous amount of information. And it creates characters who, because of spot-on casting, are vivid, human and complex.
Roger Ebert’s Review of Secretariat
Call this some misc. observations…
Back on some best-seller lists is the excellent book, how: Why HOW we Do Anything Means Everything…In Business (and in Life) by Dov Seidman. The current version is a re-issue, with updates, of the 2007 book. (I presented my synopsis of this book at the August, 2007 First Friday Book Synopsis).
Here are a few quotes from the book, revealing pieces of Seidman’s message.
Reciprocity – doing unto others as they do unto you – seems therefore to be a biological function; trust begets trust. We feel in our guts that keeping promises and connecting with others are what gives our lives meaning, and most of us seek meaning in our lives… If we live in a word more connected than ever before, shouldn’t we all find ways to connect better?
The key to long-term, sustained success does not lie in breaking all the rules; it lies in transcending the rules and harnessing the power of values.
To apologize is inherently a dangerous act, but one with latent power. To apologize is to accept responsibility, this we all know, but it is also to cede power to the wronged party. You place in their hands the decision to forgive you or not. Apologizing requires willful vulnerability. It is the ultimate act of transparency…
Culture is the way things really work, the way decisions are really made, e-mails really composed, promotions really earned and meted out, and people really treated every day.
You cannot do success… Success is something you get when you pursue something greater than yourself, and the word I use to describe that something is significance. Pursuing significance, in the end, is the ultimate HOW.
And here are some rather obvious observations.
First is that this book is about real life, the real day-to-day activities, of real people, especially at work. That’s what made me think of Ebert’s reference to Siskel, at the top of this post.
Second, many seem so fixated on “success,” that they just leap over any values considerations. (And, yes, that “many” just might include you and me). But Seidman calls us back to the centrality of values. It is a very good and worthy and noble call.
Third, we really are in this together. Really. Failure in Dallas might hurt someone in Europe. And vice versa. The Euro zone is so vary fragile, that the articles predicting this as their last hour are piling up. And if the Euro Zone collapses, it will hurt us all.
Fourth, it really is somebody’s fault – or, many somebodies. There have been some really, really big mistakes made in recent years. But to find an actual “it’s partly my fault, and I apologize” messenger is practically impossible. Consider again Seidman’s words: “To apologize is inherently a dangerous act, but one with latent power.” It might really do some good for some folks, somewhere, to apologize. But there have been far too few apologies. (And, maybe, far too few lessons learned from mistakes made).
I don’t know what will get us out of this big mess we all seem to be in. But I think a new look at How by Dov Seidman would be a pretty good use of a few hours.
You can purchase my synopsis of that first edition of How by Seidman, with audio + handout, at our companion web site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com.
Sara here: I have gotten some response to the post I offered about coaching. I’ve offended some and for that, I apologize. That is why this is titled “apology/apologia.” It is to say that I am sorry for causing reaction – and I would offer my argument to support what I believe about coaching with all sincerity.
I used the term “judgement” and that was a poor choice of words. Let me be clear that I didn’t mean that anyone was “judgmental” in working with other people. Language is a tricky thing. I suspect we often don’t communicate by speaking the same language.
Let me take another run at this. I was talking about the relationship that should exist between a coach and a client. I firmly believe that a coach has the responsibility to remain neutral toward client and client’s situation. A coach’s responsibility is to assess rather than vote. I substitute vote for judgement because I mean taking a position (rather than being judgmental). By refusing to take a position, the coach can be curious about the effectiveness of a client in ways that are outside the coach’s experience. Language does make creating the distinction challenging.
By the way – there are weaknesses in the world and in people, no denying. However, the job of the coach is not in the area of weakness. What differentiates a coach from other helping professions is that they to assess how the client sees themselves, help them expand their perspectives and open clients up to their own blind spots. Ergo, the difference between fixing what’s broken vs discovering new paths. In fact, in the world of neuropsychology: the work of Daniel Goleman, David Rock and others is reinforcing this understanding of coaching and its effectiveness in helping people change…creating new neuropathways rather than trying to redirect old ones.