THE ONE MINUTE APOLOGY
Ken Blanchard, creator of The One Minute Manager idea, and Margret McBride wrote a lovely short book called The One Minute Apology. It's for executives and others (and their employees and friends!) who have made a big mistake.
The book tells a parable about an assistant who sees that his boss has made this kind of mistake and is trying to cover it up. Through conversations with a number of helpful people, the assistant finds a way to help his boss "fess up" and fix the problem.
It's a message for everyone, a great holiday gift for everyone you know. Although perhaps the method has a lot in common with the 12-Step approach to recovery from addiction, what is great is that the book sets a new norm. It provides a rationale, it makes it acceptable, it makes it possible for executives and others who find it difficult to acknowledge weakness and error to --- just follow this simple method! Now, they could just walk into a Board Meeting and say, "I need to make a One Minute Apology." The door has been opened.
Here is Blanchard's summary of The One Minute Apology method:
"I ask myself the following questions, and answer truthfully:
What mistake did I make?
Did I dismiss another person, their wishes, feelings, or ideas?
Did I take credit when it wasn't due?
Why did I do this?
Was it an impulsive, thoughtless act? Was it calculated?
Was it a result of my fear, anger, or frustration?
What was my motivation?
How long have I let this go on? Is this the first or repeated time?
Is this behavior becoming a pattern in my life?
What is the truth I am not dealing with?
Am I better than this behavior?
Then I do the following:
I begin my one minute apology with Surrender
- I am truthful and admit to myself that I've done something wrong and I need to make up for it.
- I take full responsibility for my actions and sincerely recognize the need to apologize to anyone I have harmed, regardless of the outcome
- I have a sense of urgency about apologizing - I act as soon as possible
- I tell anyone harmed specifically what I did wrong
- I share how I feel about what I did with those harmed
I complete my one minute apology with Integrity
- I recognize that what I did is inconsistent with who I want to be
- I reaffirm I am better than my poor behavior and forgive myself
- I recognize how much I have hurt another person by making amends and demonstrate my commitment not to repeat the act by changing my behavior
Use Intuitive Focusing As An Aid In A One Minute Apology?
Intuitive Focusing can help you get to the deeper roots of a problem, to get below the rational thoughts that spin in your mind but don't help you move forward or find out something new. Intuitive Focusing means pausing, for just a moment, and letting the "whole body feel," the "right-brain, intuitive information" come as A Creative Edge, a something-more-than-words from which new, non-linear answers can come.
If this fits for you in anyway, you can use a modification of Instant "Ahah!" #1, Focusing: Find Out What Is Bothering to spend some time sitting with the "intuitive feel" that comes to Blanchard and McBride's basic questions, and then use their action suggestions to facilitate an apology:
Set aside some uninterrupted time and take a seat in a comfortable chair. Close your eyes if you can be comfortable doing that. Otherwise just stare into space ---
Notice the feel of your body everywhere that it touches the chair, your feet on the ground, as a beginning step in going inside, becoming aware of your whole-body "intuition" ---
Now just pay attention to your breath, just noticing the breath going in --- and out --- in --- and out --- in --- and out ---
Now notice where you have tension in your body. Massage those spots a bit with your hands if you want --- your head and face, your neck and shoulders, wherever ---
Now imagine that all that tension becomes a stream of water, running down your arms and legs and out of your body --- just letting go ---
Now ask yourself, "What mistake have I made that could benefit from a One Minute Apology? ----
"Is there something I have done which I carry as a weight, a fear, an unresolved tension?" ---
"Have I dismissed another person, their wishes, feelings, or ideas?" ---
"Have I taken credit when it wasn't due?" ---
These are just possibilities. Ask yourself, "Is there a mistake I have made?" Just wait quietly, as long as a minute, for the "intuitive feel," the "felt sense" of that "whole thing" to form in the center of your body:
One minute or more
Spend some time going back and forth between the "feel of it all" and words or images or gestures that might capture it, until your body-feel says, "Yes, that's right. That captures it. That captures my mistake" ---
Now, if it fits for you, ask Blanchard's next question: "Why did I do this? Some suggestions: impulsivity, thoughtlessness? Calculated? Out of fear, anger, or frustration? But ask yourself, "What was my motivation?" and see what comes inside, the "intuitive feel," the not-yet words about the motivation for this whole mistake ---
And, again, take some time to go back and forth between the "feel of it all" and words, images, or gestures which capture it ---
And now ask yourself Blanchard's question, "How long have I let this go on? Is this the first or repeated time? Is this behavior becoming a pattern in my life?" and see what comes --- again, not the words you already know but the "intuitive feel" of the answer: "Is this the first and only time? How widespread is this behavior in my life?" ---
And again carefully find words or images to capture "all of that" ---
And Blanchard's next question: 'What is the truth I am not dealing with?" or "Is there a truth I am not dealing with?" and see what comes ---
Go back and forth between the "intuitive feel" and words and images until the symbols fit and capture the "feel of it all" and your body says, "Oh, yes. That." ---
And ask yourself Blanchard's question: "Am I better than this behavior?" and see what comes --- not the known words but the "intuitive feel" ---
And go back and forth until you find words or images to capture that ---
And now spend some time with Blanchard's action steps as listed above, asking yourself each time, "Am I ready and able to do this?" "What would be needed for me to take this action? What kind of support or help, if needed?" and make a list of how you are going to carry out these action steps. And then start your One Minute Apology!!!
For more support, for a "story" that makes sense of all of this, of course read Blanchard and McBride's little book that can make a huge difference!