You bump into someone in the passage at work: "Sorry." Miss your anniversary: "Sorry" (and a meaningful gift). You actively participate in state capture: "Sorry." Everyone nowadays is apologising for something. It might be the pope saying sorry for generations of systemic abuse by the church, Volkswagen for lying over emissions, or companies for participating in the equivalent of economic treason. It just doesn't cut it. The reality is that virtually any company of any consequence will find itself having to apologise at some point. But unless there is genuine contrition, forget it. Do you even remember President Jacob Zuma "apologising" for Nkandla? Elton John had it wrong, as it turns out. "Sorry" is not the hardest word. Apologies are easy. The real test is whether the "sorry" is accepted. And that comes when the words are backed by action. Studies show that companies that not only exhibit contrition but are credible when they say things will work betterare more effective. As are ...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as articles from our international business news partners; ProfileData financial data; and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now