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Why we don't say "I am sorry" in our Organization

Apologies can blind potential improvement opportunities

Chika Odioemene

Apologies are designed to express immense regret of unintended action or consequence. Apologies are also used as a method of accepting accountability for an undesired outcome. But are They always useful in the workplace? The next time you hear one of your team members say "Iam so sorry, it will never happen again". You should immediately cringe.

Here is why

In a hierarchical environment, the most commonly used panacea for improvement opportunities is apology.

The truth behind the apologies are: Fear: fear of being blamed, humiliated, beilittled and even scolded.

Discomfort: improvement opportunities are inherently accompanied with discomfort and unnerving circumstances. Apologies are often offered out of eagerness to interrupt these unpleasant emotions.

Denial: those who accept quick apologies and those who offer quick apologies share the common need to distance themselves from t he current failure mode.

Can one really prevent an incident from happening again without deliberate

systematic review and corrective action?

At Utopian Healthcare, the culture of refraining from immediate apologies was initially paralyzing. Today, this practice has emancipated a culture of reflection

First, incidents are viewed and embraced as learning and improvement opportunities.

Second, there is a deliberate evaluation on the structure, process that led to the undesired outcome. At times, it turned out that I the CEO and Chika Odioemene Founder was a major contributor to the outcome.

Third, empower your teams to be solution-oriented. Imagine an apology riddled with the root cause analysis and action


Embrace every incident and milk it of all the lessons it has to offer! If we must accept apologies, accept only those with honest review of structure, process, and outcome. When possible, also accept apologies with potential solutions only after a thorough evaluation of the problem

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