By now there aren’t many people left who haven’t seen the video of a doctor being dragged off a United Airlines flight. It was a mistake that has caused them embarrassment, outrage, and a drop in their stock price. Part of the problem is that when the incident happened, the CEO of United tried to deflect blame instead of accepting it. Mistakes happen. It is worse if you don’t own up to it.
The ultimate playbook on how to handle a crisis was written by Tylenol in the 1980s. When Tylenol packages were tampered with, they immediately went to work. Tylenol could have said it had nothing to do with them and shifted the blame to the drug store where the tampering occurred. Instead, they pulled all product of the shelves, redesigned the packaging, and redesigned the pills to make them tamper proof. The plan cost them millions. Not doing it could have cost them their business.
Tylenol took responsibility, even more than they had to, and fixed the problem. When you make a mistake, own up to it. Fix the problem and accept the blame. You’ll get more out of it in the long run.