“I was wrong.”

If you are anything like me, you don’t say those seemingly simple words often enough.

Over time, I believe I’ve gotten better at admitting my mistakes. Yet far too often I still remain more worried about protecting my ego than owning up to reality.

We’ve all witnessed friends, colleagues, bosses, loved ones and public figures make a mistake but fail to accept it.

Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, or whether you believe that the country desperately needs to tackle the role of government, mounting deficits and an explosion in entitlement payments, much of what Mitt Romney said on the hidden video released earlier this week was wrong-headed and ill-informed. And pretty much everyone knows this.

The campaign has spent the last couple of days parsing the statements, shifting blame, trying to direct attention elsewhere and over-explaining. It’s not helping.

I’ve engaged in the same defensive, ego protecting behavior when I knew I was wrong. Thankfully, I’ve been on a much smaller stage and dealing with dramatically less weighty issues.

Here’s the thing. Most of the time I’m wrong, the people around me realize it. My defensiveness only serves to impede growth and keep me dis-connected.

Saying “I was wrong” unleashes me, and brings me closer to people.

And I get bonus points for adding “and I’m sorry and I will work hard to do better next time.”

Your turn Mr. Romney.

Author: stevenpdennis

Steven Dennis is a trusted advisor and thought-leader on customer-centric strategic growth and innovation. As President of SageBerry Consulting, he applies his C-level executive experience to drive growth and marketing strategy for multi-channel retail, e-commerce and luxury industry clients. He shares his ideas and wisdom regularly in the press, as an industry speaker and through his popular blog "Zen and the Art & Science of Customer-Centricity"(https://stevenpdennis.wordpress.com/). Prior to founding SageBerry, Steven was Senior Vice President of Strategy, Business Development and Marketing for the Neiman Marcus Group. As a member of the Executive Committee he drove the company's major growth initiatives, multi-channel marketing programs and customer insight agenda. Before joining Neiman Marcus, Steven held leadership positions with Sears, including Acting Chief Strategy Officer, Lands' End acquisition integration team leader, Vice President-Multichannel Integration and General Manager-Commercial Sales. Earlier in his career he was with NutraSweet and the global management strategy consulting firm, Booz & Co. Steven received his MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BA from Tufts University. In addition to his consulting work, Steven is an executive-in-residence at the JC Penney Center for Retail Excellence at SMU’s Cox School of Business, President of the DFW Retail Executives Association and serves on the Advisory Boards of Invodo Inc. and Nectar Online Media. He is also active in the social innovation and education reform arena as a Partner and member of the Board of Directors of Dallas Social Venture Partners. He is currently co-leader of DSVP's investment and engagement with SMU's Center on Communities and Education "School Zone" initiative in West Dallas.

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