May 29, 2014

The recently opened National September 11 Memorial Museum has seen its fair share of controversy in just a few short weeks.  Given its highly sensitive subject matter, the decisions made by the organization—and the way its leadership communicates about these decisions—is naturally under a great deal of scrutiny.

 

As a New Yorker, I was glad to hear that they have they made some changes to some gift shop merchandise that some found to be in poor taste.  And as a language strategist, I was glad to see that the foundation president, Joe Daniels, directly addressed the issue:

 

Once the public starts coming in, you learn so much.  We in no way presume to get everything right. We will accept that criticism, absolutely.

 

Mr. Daniels’ comments demonstrate the humility and openness that are vital in his role.  He keeps the focus on learning from others, and acknowledges the misstep in no uncertain terms.

 

Over and over, we see leaders stumble when their communication matters most: when it’s time to say “I’m sorry.”  Mr. Daniels got it right.

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