Hang a lantern on your problems

With the iPod, iPhone and iPad — not to mention MacBook and iMac — Apple has been on an almost decade-long roll. But in a rare stumble, the company encountered multiple setbacks that delayed introduction of the heavily anticipated white iPhone for almost a year.

When at long last the company unveiled the device a couple of weeks ago, it announced it with the headline, “Finally.”

I’ve worked with so many clients over the years who are averse to admitting mistakes or acknowledging the slightest bit of bad news. “Why remind people?” they inevitably ask. Newflash: if you’ve screwed up, it’s already in the front of peoples’ minds.

By addressing it head-on and upfront, you’re demonstrating an understanding of and respect for your audience. By ignoring or glossing over it, you’re showing that you’re out of touch and inauthentic.

An old boss of mine used to cite the saying, “Hang a lantern on your problems.” That is, be the first to call out your own mistakes — it’ll earn you respect and credibility.

Granted, with its long winning streak and rabid fan base, Apple can perhaps afford more than most companies to eat a little crow. Still, it’s a really refreshing approach that we don’t see enough of.