I owe Noreen Seebacher an apology. Same goes for Scott Raynovich, my fellow Investor Uprising bloggers, and, while I'm at it, the entire Investor Uprising community, wherever you are.
I have been away from my Investor Uprising responsibilities far too long, as the PR world has been keeping me busy with a lot of interesting projects, and for those who have followed my previous posts, my kids have been keeping me on my toes. But that is no excuse for me to be away from you.
I am going to do my darndest to find more ways to blend ethics, flippant humor, and a warped sense of looking at the world and bring the results to you more frequently. For those I have let down, I sincerely and humbly apologize. I strive to stay committed to the promise I made when I first joined the IU team and bring you regular blog posts in the future.
Deep breath, everyone. How would you rate that apology? I tried to address what I thought was wrong, I recognized the error of my ways, and I am trying to atone for the past by looking toward the future. But was it enough for you, reader?
Too often, companies don't apologize the right way. A weak apology gets lost in a sea of blame, he-said-she-said, and passing the buck. I could point to several instances where every passing moment of not stepping up and saying "My bad!" -- even when it wasn't the company's fault -- causes more harm than good.
The most recent example of a company not apologizing well enough can be found with Carnival Cruise Lines (NYSE: CCL). No one would step up to the plate to take responsibility. The ship's captain is a likely suspect, as his story has changed
as often as the tides. The company didn't act swiftly enough to address the passengers and families' needs, so it allowed rumors like this one
to start. Mickey Arison, chief executive chairman and part owner of Carnival, has kept an unusually low profile
in the wake of the incident. People who were directly and indirectly affected were clamoring for a voice or figure to give them answers, but nothing came forth.
How will Carnival show it is holding itself accountable for its actions, and can an apology really add any value at this point in time? What's important now is to have a rep who provides a constant voice to keep people informed (and there are conflicting opinions about whether the CEO is the best spokesperson in a crisis).
At the end of the day, apologizing is not easy. Yes, as Elton John said, "Sorry seems to be the hardest word." There are no words or press statements that will bring the vacationers on that cruise ship home. We can only hope that Carnival will do something to build public trust in its company and its brand.
Full disclosure, folks (and probably the last time I ever do anything here that is self-promotional): I started a blog called A Sorry State that analyzes the world of apologies. There is a lot to be learned from apologies -- how to do it right, who makes a good "apologist," and, yes, which ones are really head-scratchers. I award A.S.S. Awards to the worst apologizers, so if there is a company, product, or process that you feel needs to be recognized, shoot me a Tweet.