The "Ooops" Factor

"Ooops. We goofed. We're sorry." These words summarize a great many crisis communications strategies. Somewhere, someone makes an uninformed decision, it backfires and the
media has a field day. What can an organization do but say "we made a mistake and we'll try to make it right"? Obviously, if the mistake costs lives - human or animal, or
irreparable environmental damage, apologizing is not enough. But there are times when a simple "oops" seems to be enough. Making mistakes is essentially very human and even the
most venerable institutions aren't immune. This month we look at two of the most venerable--and as it turns out-- most vulnerable of our nation's institutions: The Smithsonian
Institution and IBM.