When your facts are wrong, run a correction

In my last blog post I talked about the Platinum Rule (do unto others as they would have you do unto them) and attributed it to author Mark Sanborn. One of the comments to the post from my good friend Steve Farber suggested that Dr. Tony Alessandra was the actual creator of the concept. After a deep Google search, I have come to the conclusion that Steve is correct. Here is the site that should settle such a debate: The Platinum Rule.

In my book (The Likeability Factor) I said; “When you get it wrong, run a correction”. It’s time for me to walk the talk. The reason you run a correction, especially as a trusted advisor or leader, is because it will improve your due diligence in the future. Many leaders make assertions or trust rumor mills (think web soures) and find out later that they are probably incorrect. They do nothing. They are ashamed or embarrased and worry that admitting their error would hurt their credibility. As a result they have no pain, and get no gain when it comes to being “real”. One newspaper publisher told me recently that the reason papers make a reporter run a correction on the front page (or a high readership page) is because the they public correction makes them better at fact-checking. No one wants to be a repeat offender in the got-it-wrong-oops category.

The extra benefit from running a correction is that you actually increase your credibility. Most people know when you are wrong and maybe they don’t want to hurt your feelings or have an argument with you. That latent belief on their part will undercut your credibility with them. When you put it out in the open and fess up, you restore their faith in your honesty and integrity.
NOTE: If you have to run constant corrections, this will quickly turn the corner on you and make your look like a scatter-brain.

So next time you get your facts crooked, line them up with a correction — on your blog or through traditional means. Thanks Steve, that is a great reminder. Keep those comments coming.