Effective Apology Book Cover

Buy the Book
Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Paperback, 264 pages
ISBN 978-1-57675-901-1
Amazon  |   B&N
Powell's  |  Indiebound

Welcome to Effective Apology

Apologize to Gain Trust. It's great to see Investors Daily link apology (my book) and the great work of Dennis and Michelle Reina of the Reina Trustbuilding Institute (Rebuilding Trust in the Workplace).


Apology at Work on gthe Fugitive Knowledge blog.


How to Apologize Right? A good summary of my apology model on Bnet.


Chief Executive Magazine published my feature story on apology: Want Better Performance? Say You're Sorry.


The Daily Good brings daily inspiration to your inbox. On August 2, 2010, it brought The Art of Effective Apology.


A book review in Blog Business World. Sample quote: "John Kador recognizes the importance of apologies as essential to modern society. While a leader's first impulse may be to avoid apology, to not appear weak or prone to mistakes, the author makes a powerful case that avoiding apology can have serious consequences. The central message of the book is that mistakes are inevitable and that an honest and effective apology will defuse anger, reduce litigation, begin the healing process, and rebuild the relationship. John Kador makes the case well that while an apology is not free of personal and economic cost, the price of denial, blame, and a refusal to take responsibility for mistakes and to apologize is much higher. While apology was once viewed as weakness, society now considers an open and honest apology to be a sign of personal strength and integrity."

Management consultant Luc Gallopin has an excellent blog on organizational change. Last year I wrote a guest blog on apology. Recently, probably due to the Daily Good mention, apology has taken on new life and there's a letter (with my response) about what to do when the victim refuses to talk yet expects an apology.


Personal branding interview with John Kador. An extended interview on all things apology by Dan Schwabel.


Good piece about apology at this blog called Western Wit and Wisdom for the Workplace.


CNNMoney columnist Lisa Gibbs wrote a piece about a judgment that went against Charles Schwab. I had blogged about the Schwab controversey and suggested that the best course was for Schwab to apologize and try to settle. Schwab chose to contest the issue and it lost. I still think it would have been better (and possibly heaper, in the long run) to admit error, apologize, pat restitution,and move on.


Wayne Hurlbert of Blog talk radio interviewed me about apology. You can find the audio here. Here's how Wayne introduced the program: "Best selling author John Kador shares the crucial principles involved in giving an effective apology to mend fences, rebuild bridges, and restore trust. He challenges our perceptions of what constitutes an effective apology for both the speaker and the recipient. John's 5 R's of a whole hearted apology are designed to heal and to renew a relationship. He also discusses how to accept or reject an apology in the right way."


The Times of India quoted me in a story (It's the Sorry Season) about celebrity apology featuring Indian celebrities I never heard of. No matter. The principles are the same.


Susan Antilla at Bloomberg wrote avery nice story on apology that was picked up by Business Week, CNN, and hundreds of other outlets. The story was called "CEOs Say Sorry and Thanks for all the Dough." This is the quote she used: “You can’t hide the mistakes like you used to,” says John Kador, author of “Effective Apology: Mending Fences, Building Bridges and Restoring Trust.” What I meant is that with cell phone cameras. emails, text messages, security cameras, etc., it's almost impossible to commit an offense without leaving a trace. That means it's no longer possible to deny something happened or claim the benefit of a he-said-she-said dynamic. The offense is out there and can't be denied.

The New Zealand Herald News quotes me in a longish story (Sorry State of Affairs) on apology. It;s a very well done story by Catherine Masters.


Tiger Woods apologizes February 19, 2010. CNN publishes an opinion piece from me on what Tiger Should Say. Last I looked there were over 400 comments, most of them attacking me.


A nice blog post called "Do Apologies Help Rebuild the Brand" quotes me.


A blog called "Jam's Own Reality" introduced a post about Tiger Woods with a number of apology-related quotations, including mine ("A genuine apology emphasizes compassion for the wronged party, not redemption for the offender.")


Blogger Scott McKain (McKain's Viewpoint) ran a Tiger Woods blog called "What, exactly, is a Mistake?" It's a good point. Many offenders apologize for making a mistake. What is a mistake: An error or fault resulting from defective judgment, deficient knowledge, or carelessness.


This Side of the Pond, the blog of the Cambridge University Press, North America, in a post called "How to Apologize," my views about sending apologies vy email (don't do it) are congtrasted with other writers who see some advantages in emailed apologies.


For The Toronto Globe & Mail newspaper, I conducted a web conference on How to Make an EFfective Apology. Some good questions from readers.


What exactly is a mistake? Good question.


Tamela Rich, who blogs on smart business communications, considers the limits of apology using my book as a jumping off point.


Good analysis of apologies from the point of view of several experts, including me.


Human Resource Executive Magazine published a story about the value of effective apology for HR professionals. The article, called "Apology is the First Resort," describes a number of HR difficulties and how apology helped defuse the situation and kept a bad situation from becoming worse.


Host Diego Mulligan of Santa Fe Public Radio KSFR interviewed me for his radio show on October 26th. The podcast is here. I was scheduled to be on the show the week earlier. Host Diego demonstrated his chops at apology by apologizing to me for the mix-up that prevented me from going on as first scheduled. It was a very good apology, and although he explained what went wrong, the explanation never crossed the line into an excuse. So bravo to you, Diego.


Rick Holinger, a columnist for the Kane County Chroncile gives readers a personal account of my presentation at the Barnes & Noble book store in Geneva, Illinois during my Septmber book tour. His story is called "Holinger: How to Say I'm Sorry and Mean it." It was great to see many of my old friends in Illinois.


The Ottawa Citzen ran a very nice story on apologies by Susan Schwartz called "The Sorry State of Apologies." Using the examples of Rep. Joe ("You lie!") WIlson and rapper Kanye West, Schwartz refers to Effective Apology to evaluate their apaologies and finds the apologies wanting. The subtitle to her story is, "When peopl ebehave badly, why can't they just own up to it?"


John appeared on Internet radio call-in show: Wayne Hurlbert's Blog Business Success Radio. Details here. Wayne also reviewed my book here.


Bloomberg.com's Susan Antilla called me for a comment on Charles Schwab and the op-ed he wrote in the Wall Street Journal. Schwab had the bad luck to publish his op-ed the same day that Warren Buffet published a think piece in the New York TImes. The column has a snappy title: Buffet informs Schwab Whines on Op-Ed Page. She ended the column by quoting me on the apology that Chuck Schwab might choose to deliver.


The Blog Fugitive Knowledge has a longish review of the wonderful comic novel Eating Crow by Jay Rayner. It is as much as book review of Effective Apology. In "The Apology at Work," blogger Peter Stoyko, a professional researcher, methodologist, and information designer, takes a detailed look at many of the major themes in my book. He has obviously read deeply in the literature of apology. I take no offense in his conclusion that my book is derivative. He represents my position well. He suggests that I am a bit naive in my call for unqualified apologies in business situations. He says that some hedging may be appropriate and that apologetic statements that I dismiss as ineffective may have legitimacy. We agree on the comic genius of Eating Crow.


Apple is the most secretive and controlling company in recent memory. The ability to apologize is not one of its strong suits. This is one of the central themes in the BNET article "Apple WIll Learn that Secrecy Has its Price." Author Erik Sherman references my take on apology to support the conclusion that the company would be better served by a culture of greater transparency and accountability.


Business Insanity Talk Radio had a segment on apology on August 7. Host Barry Moltz asked me about the benefits that small businesses derive when they apologize, take responsibility, and promise to do better next time. The segment includes information about conflict resolution and mediation, as well. Check the segment out here.


A nice blog called Marketing Fundi mentioned my book in a post called The Art of the Apology as a Strategic Business Tool.


Dan McGirt, who runs a very nice site called Apology Index, posts a model of corporate apology following a survey company's botched survey. I appreciate Dan suggesting that the author of the apology must have read my book. It is indeed, as Dan says, a gold standard:


My apologies. We've had technical and content problems with the survey we just released, and it's apparent to us that it should never have gone out in its present form. If you've not yet tried to take the survey, please disregard my prior email invitation. If you've already attempted to take the survey, please forgive me for having wasted your time. This was poorly executed on our end, and I apologize again.

I'll see all replies to this email, and you can also call my direct line at xxx-xxx-xxxx with any questions.

Thank you for your understanding.

Very truly yours,
Aaric Eisenstein, SVP Publishing



The Wall Street Journal ran a fine Q&A with me about the limits of apology in business. The article is called "Managing Means Having to Say You're Sorry." If that link doesn't work, try this. One thing I like about the WSJ article is how it adapted my apology quiz into a smart five-item test.


Guess who occupies the role of Cool Friend #140 to Tom Peters? That would be me.

This new Cool Friend interview with John Kador will have you re-examining every apology you've ever made or heard. Author of Effective Apology: Mending Fences, Building Bridges, and Restoring Trust, Kador explains the most effective ways to apologize as well as some surprising financial implications. When Tom read the book he was getting the apology message from several quarters, and he declared apologizing to be a core competence for everyone who would be effective at business, so fundamental that he included it in the Success Tips as #155. You can read John Kador's Cool Friends interview, or learn more about apologies at his blog, personal website (www.jkador.com), and book website, (www.EffectiveApology.com). John can also be found on Twitter at Twitter.com/jkador.


Want a good article on the benefits of apology with a Canadian slant? Check out Wallace Immen's article, Mark of a Leader: Effectively Saying 'I'm Sorry' in GlobeInvestor.com


I'm honored to provide the first guest blog--How to Apologize--on Luc Galoppin's blog, Luc's Thoughts on Organiazational Change. The blog is published in Belgium. Luc Galoppin is managing director of Reply Management Consulting. He picked up his organizational change skills on projects with different scopes and user communities and interim management assignments. He is the co-author with Siegfried Caems of the SAP PRESS book Managing Organizational Change During SAP Implementations. I recommend Luc's newsletter.


The Gainesville Sun has a fine article by Lashonda S. Curry I"m Sorry: The all-too-human art of apologizing." In the article, published on June 27, 2009, I am on the record predicting the resignation of S.C. governor Mark Sanford. Stay tuned.


The Snitch, a blog for human resources managers in Singapore, did a very nice job of summarizing my ten do's and don'ts for effective apology in a post titled "Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word."


I spoke to Hanna Hasl-Kelchner, the No-Nonsense Lawyer, on the intersection of apology the law. The interactive teleseminar was posted on the Legal Literarcy (Building Bridges Between Business and Law) blog. I fielded over a dozen questions submited by listeners. We spent quite a bit of time on the question of how one can apaologize and still maintain the correcteness of his/her position. Short answer: one can't. An apology usually means accepting the other side's narrative. Here's the MP3 audio transcript of the conversation. (Give it a minute to load.)


AffluentMagazine has a wonderful column called "The Coaches Corner." My article, "Why is Apology So Difficult?" is featured in the latest issue. As with everything else in the magazine, apology has a cost. Apology is not free. It's just less costly than the alternatives. Check it out.


I look forward to participating in a Public Forum Book Talk on Thursday, July 9 at 1 PM ET.

This should be a free-wheeling talk about the role of apology in advancing public discourse in a variety of settings. You can submit questions to me and register for the event here. It's free. I look forward to hearing from you on the teleconference. I'm also honored to be the featured author in Public Forum's bookstore.



Corporate culture matters. In an article entitled Who'd a thunk it? Decency still works, Mike Frommelt of KeyStone Search references my article in Chief Executive to make a point that apologizing is a basic decency. There's another reason why this post especially resonates with me. A few years ago, I was associated with a book called The Manager's Book of Decencies: How Small Gestures Build Great Companies by Steve Harrison. It was in that book that I first formulated some of my thinking about apology as a basic decency. I'm grateful to this blog for reminding me.


Connecticut just became the eigth state to issue a formal apology for slavery and racist policies of the past. My blog of June 6th addresses this issue. Do such apologies 150 years after the fact make the slightest bit of difference to anyone? In a country with a black president is it about time to get over slavery, or are state apologies an effective way to reckon with the persistent effetcs of the legacy of slavery?


Ever wonder why people you offend are not impressed by apologies that focus on "it's not what I meant!" Check out the LifeVesting blog's "I Was Wr-r-r-r - Uh, Sorry." I love how Andy Wood weaves together stories about his children with some serious themes from my book. In the comments section we discuss the difference between apology and admitting fault.


What are the "Three Little Words" that every leader must master? According to Harvard Business School's Rossabeth Moss Kanter, the three words are "I was wrong."


I spoke to Hanna Hasl-Kelchner, the No-Nonsense Lawyer, on the intersection of apology and the law. The interactive teleseminar was posted on the Legal Literarcy (Building Bridges Between Business and Law) blog. I fielded over a dozen questions submited by listeners. We spent quite a bit of time on the question of how one can apaologize and still maintain the correcteness of his/her position. Short answer: one can't. An apology usually means accepting the other side's narrative. Here's the MP3 audio transcript of the conversation. (Give it a minute to load.)


The Women's Journal, a newspaper serving the women of Pennsylvania, published my article on Seven Words You Should Never Use in an Apology, in its May/June 2009 issue.


Christina's Considerations, a blog on, among other things, workplace effectiveness, referenced my article in Chief Executive, in its discussion of grace in the workplace. Recommended.


The Logos Institute published an excellent essay on public apologies. The blog focuses on crisis management and execuive leadership.


Tom O Leary has a particuarly insightful essay on "Five Steps to Effective Apology" that's informed by his understanding of apology in Japan. What I appreciate most is his fifth step: Be prepared for an awkward conclusion. Exactly. Apology is giving up the need to control the conversation. Sometimes the apology will end in a reciporcal apology and hugs. Sometimes the apology will be rejected. THat's what makes apology so scary.


Paul Lloyd aggregates valuable business growth ideas on his Business Growth blog. Leaders who want to apologize would do well to read Apology and the Seven Deadly Sins. If you like hardboiled private eye stories as well as logic puzzles (you know, the kind you have to create a grid to solve), the you'll love "The Four Ps of Murder."


The intersection of apology and authenticity is explored in Colour Me Happy, a wonderful blog on color and design by Maria Killam. The post is called Authenticity . . . the Currency of the Future


The Personal Branding blog's Dan Schwabel ran a Personal Branding interview with me about apology and authenticity, how leaders can harness their true selves. I describe a time when an apology helped me avoid a speeding ticket.


How Online has a fine post by Erik Sherman on the bottom-line benefits of corporate apologies that quotes Effective Apology. It's called "Truly Saying I'm Sorry" and I recommend it for anyone thinking about the professional implications of apologizing.


"I'm Sorry" in which I list 10 steps to effective apology, is now an addition to a remarkable collection of essays and multimedia content at NetSpeed Fast Tracks. Recommended.


The Daily Item, my local newspaper, ran a fine story about the book with an even finer headline: "Effective apology is a quality leadership trait."


John will be the guest on the next edition of on my next edition of Ask the No Nonsense Lawyer. Hanna Hasl-Kelchner will be interviewing me about my book. I hope you can join us for the free teleseminar. To register click here and submit a question you’d like to have me answer.


People are endlessly worried about accepting a "fake apology." I'm not sure such a thing exists. In a post called The Apology Crutch, the HR Bartender blog examines this issue. In a comment, I explain my theory why the risks of accepting a fake apology are overblown.


Tom Peters, to me the pre-eminent thought leader on strategic business innovation, discussed the role of apology in business, pulling out from my book some specific examples of why apology is not only the moral thing to do, but that it generates tangible financial benefits. His blog is always an inspiration.


In Job Hacking, Dave Hardwick takes the position that a company's record of apology should definitely be among the criteria that potential employees consider before joining the company. What does this have to do with you, the job hunter? Before you accept a given job at a given company, check out the stumbles the company has made, and see if you're OK with their response. If not, add that to your "Against" column on your For and Against List.



Lead by apologizing. A Smart Brief on Leadership about apology.


Guess what book PR Leads' Dan Janal selected as The Cool Book of the Day?


Not all situations require apologies. Here are five reasons not to apoloigize. Thank you for not apologizing.


Chief Executive ran a cover story titled "Want Better Peformance? Say You're Sorry" in the May 2009 issue.


SmartBrief quoted John talking about apology in a short segment on April 20, 2009.


John wrote a guest blog on General Motors attempt to apologize on the Apology Index blog.


John wrote an article on The Five Dimensions of Effective Apology on the Slow Leadership blog.


John is quoted in Falling Off The Ladder: Do Women Shoot Themselves In The Foot? on the Glass Hammer web site. Bottom line: women at work need to be thoughtful about habitual apologizing.


TortsProf Blog, a member of the Law Professor's Blog Network, refrenced Effective Apology