Controversy happens. Whether dealing with a misunderstanding, a mistake, or just bad luck, every business owner will encounter the need to take accountability at some point or another. When trying to salvage a relationship with a partner in business or working to rectify a grievance aired by a client, or even a customer base at large, it’s important to put your best face forward and make things right within the community.
Taking the First Steps
Apologies need to be straightforward. Save the explanation until reconciliation. A straightforward apology is always the best way to diffuse the situation. Moving forward requires general good will on all sides. It’s tempting to strive to make your intentions known immediately, to explain the why and how, but true reconciliation requires a balanced approach.
Serious self-reflection is important. There is no situation too minor to warrant an exploration of the circumstances – there is always room to improve and inspire. Be open. The most inspiring figures in business never stop innovating.
Producing Actionable Results
Moving forward requires action. Righting wrongs is just as important as recognizing them. The most inspiring way to deal with any conflict is to turn a mistake into a tangible benefit to the affected community. Go above and beyond a fix; create solutions. Use collaboration during the problem solving process. Look to outside source of inspiration. Provide plenty of options.
Use your understanding of how the conflict arose to solve the circumstances that created it – improve transparency, create value, streamline feedback processes, whatever it takes.
Here is an example that embodies this principal perfectly. Embroiled in controversy, investor and entrepreneur Elliott Broidy did the only reasonable thing to do: he cooperated. He cooperated with the investigation to help make sure it never happened again, and then returned more in restitution than he had ever personally received.
Even if you had no way to prevent the situation before, you’ll have a way to prevent similar things from happening in the future. It can be tough to face scrutiny (especially regarding incidental, rather than intentional circumstances) but everything is an opportunity. Your personal brand now has proven experience handling adversity, creating solutions, and moving forward.
Handling a complicated situation with grace says a lot about a business – it creates a precedent for future problem solving opportunities. A business that has handled adversity has proven the ability to rise to the occasion and to do the right thing. There is no better time to build trust than while under scrutiny.
You likely will not want to repeat the situation again but at least you’ll have proven your ability to handle it. If you are able to get through these tough times with grace and strength moving forward, nobody can do anything but look upon the circumstances as proof of your staying power.
Even minor conflicts create the opportunity for growth. Whether you had a disagreement with a supplier, encountered a disappointed customer, or encountered something more serious, the only mistake you could make is to ignore the problem or to fail to make your accountability known.
This article was written by freelance blog writer – Eliza Sanders. Passionate creative and non-fiction writers with 7 years of Internet writing experience.