Keep your hands clean

Published on Aug 26, 2020

We must learn to keep our hands clean during this time of the pandemic. But I am not talking about that kind of hand cleaning here. You must seem a paragon of civility and efficiency. Your hands are never soiled by mistakes and nasty deeds. Maintain such a spotless appearance by using others to disguise your involvement.

Our good name and reputation depend on what we conceal than on what we reveal. Everyone makes mistakes, but those who are truly clever manage to hide them and to make sure someone else is blamed.

Occasional mistakes are inevitable - the world is just too unpredictable. People of power, however, are undone not by mistakes they make, but by the way they deal with them. Like surgeons, they must cut away the tumor with speed and finality. Excuses and apologies are much too blunt tools for this delicate operation. The powerful avoid them. 

By apologizing you open up all sorts of doubts about your competence, your intentions, any other mistakes you may not have confessed. Excuses satisfy no one and apologies makes everyone uncomfortable. The mistake does not vanish with an apology; it deepens and festers. Better to cut it off instantly, distract attention from yourself.