Chris Pratt on Preemptive Apologies (and Strategies)

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Have you ever felt like you were in the early stages of an oncoming attack? You may not be able to pin down where it’s coming from, but you know it’s coming… and fast. There are many ways to handle these threats. Chris Pratt chose to address it before it even occurred.

Press junkets for a major motion picture involve long, grueling hours where the actor answers the same questions over and over again for days or weeks on end. As boredom and frustration set in, it’s easy to drop your guard and say something unfortunate. So, before beginning his mammoth press tour for Jurassic World, Chris Pratt considered the potential for mis-speaks and released the following pre-apology:

I want to make a heartfelt apology for whatever it is I end up accidentally saying during the forthcoming ‪#‎JurassicWorld‬ press tour. I hope you understand it was never my intention to offend anyone and I am truly sorry. I swear. I’m the nicest guy in the world. And I fully regret what I (accidentally will have) said in (the upcoming foreign and domestic) interview(s). I am not in the business of making excuses. I am just dumb. Plain and simple. I try. I REALLY try!… I am fully aware that the subject matter of my imminent forthcoming mistake, a blunder (possibly to be) dubbed “JurassicGate” is (most likely) in no way a laughing matter. To those I (will likely have had) offended rest assured I will do everything in my power to make sure this doesn’t happen (again).

Chris was making a joke, but his post illustrates a valid point. When we anticipate that a mistake is inevitable, we can either wait for it or prepare with a preemptive strike. For those leaders who prefer to be on the offense, here are three tips when planning your next proactive strategic maneuver.

  1. If you’re on the verge of an attack, you need to understand why you feel threatened. Are you enacting an impactful organizational change? Have you made some unpopular decisions lately? Does the climate feel ripe for a revolt? Whatever it is, this is the time to determine whether you can prevent it or minimize the damage; once the assault occurs, it is too late.
  2. Who might be plotting against you? Is it an individual or a group? The idea here is to root it out so you can address; this is not to “exterminate” the problem employees. After all, they may have a valid point. If this is the case, fixing it now will make you a more effective leader.
  3. Consider where the threat is most likely to occur. This can be an actual place like a meeting, or it may be a less tangible trail of gossip. Either way, you can’t preempt it if you don’t know how it will spread.

After you’ve worked through these three steps, it is time to make your move. This is one of those “rip the band-aid” moments. Be bold. Act quickly and decisively. And, as Chris exhibited, remain humble. You won’t get pre-forgiveness without it.

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