Trust and transparency

One of the ways in which your business is defined is how you react when things go wrong. In an increasingly digital environment, transparency is inevitable, with the implication that you can no longer sweep mistakes under the carpet.

Whilst we can learn how to use digital openness and its cousin, transparency, to make a positive impact on a business’ authenticity, it is also how we choose to respond when errors are made that plays an important part in our relationships at work and at home.

If trust and confidence in your organisation have been damaged, what does it take for you and your team to gain a foothold to reclaim that trust? What do you need to focus on to proactively rebuild the relationships affected? Here is an identified four-step process that points the way to recovery:

1. Admission

Before the story of your error becomes a widely known fact, own up and admit to the mistake. The quicker you do this, the easier it will be to recover your position and diffuse the impact of any message being posted digitally or otherwise.

2. Apology / contrition

You not only have to apologise for the mistake you made but also be contrite about it (and not just act as though you are). By communicating your contrition in an authentic way, it will come across as though you have empathised with the situation and recognised that others have suffered because of your error.

3. Redress / restitution

To make the step towards repairing a damaged relationship, a vital component is offering some form of redress for the harm caused. This doesn’t necessarily mean financial compensation but instead you actually offering your best efforts (your time perhaps) to restore things to where they were. There is no guarantee your offer will be accepted, but it’s important that you do offer it and it is sincerely meant.

4. Forgiveness / rehabilitation

Once you have admitted the mistake, apologised for it and made steps to redressing the situation, you will find the relationship has a chance to find a new level. You may not be able to recover it to where it was before; it may even be better.

It’s an easy thing to look at these four steps in the trust rebuilding process and feel it’s not worth going through. The writing may have been on the wall as soon as your mistake was made. However, if it’s a relationship worth saving, then these steps will enable the relationship to continue in some form.

Thanks to Neil Crofts’ Magic Monday blog for inspiration.

Contact us on 01865 881056 or email us at if you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this post.