Like so many of you, I watched the CEO of Lululemon, Chip Wilson’s, apology in horror.
Where to begin?
Well, for starters, he begins by saying, “I’m sad for the repercussions of my actions.”
What about the actions, fella?
He goes on to say, “I’m sad for the people of Lululemon.”
For real? Not for insulting your customer base?
Ultimately, he concludes, “I take responsibility for what has occurred.”
Not, you will note, for what he said, but for what has occurred (and I’m guessing he’s sorrier about his plummeting stock price than he is about alienating his patrons.)
I hope we call all agree that was a disaster.
What, then, do I think is an effective apology?
I’m so glad you asked.
Maple Leaf Foods, in Canada, had an incident with listeria some time ago. When it occurred, the President and CEO issued an apology. For me, it is one of the most effective on record.
Why do I think it works?
First, it outlines the action steps Maple Leaf took to avoid further deaths.
Second, sympathy is offered to his customer base.
Third, he admits they failed and he apologizes.
Finally, he states their policy for moving forward.
Now there are some of you that are thinking there is a big difference between pilling yoga pants and death—and I would be the first to admit that. My job, however is to parse what I am seeing. Given that, should you ever (heaven forfend) have to apologize for anything I recommend following Maple Leaf’s blueprint as opposed to Lululemon’s.
Frances Cole Jones