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Please, Thank you, Excuse me and Sorry

At Rutherford we say please, thank you, excuse me and sorry. These phrases are closely related to our values of respect, responsibility, integrity and excellence.

In this article I would like to focus mostly on thank you and sorry. But, before I do, a smaller comment on please and excuse me.

The word please displays respect for the person you are requesting something from. It shouldn’t automatically result in you expecting to get that something just because you have said please. Any request should be accompanied by a please.

Excuse me is if you have got in someone’s way or accidently bumped into them or didn’t hear correctly and need it repeated and like please, the word stands alone as the end product in most cases.

I believe that the words thank you and sorry are action or doing words. Saying sorry if you have harmed someone or something in some way is only a first step.

At Rutherford we are working to develop a culture of understanding around the 5 Fs and following this process if some harm has occurred.

  1. Foul-up – a mistake is made and some harm has occurred.
  2. Fess-up – own your mistake by accepting responsibility for your part in a foul-up.
  3. Face-up – go and apologise for your part in the foul-up. This is the first part of being sorry; the uttering of the words.
  4. Fix-up – restore the damage or harm that you have contributed to, this requires actions for the foul-up made. The word sorry is growing legs.
  5. Follow up – this is often the most important part and again requires actions. Checking in that restoration has occurred.

If we stop at the uttering of sorry then we haven’t put any real effort into showing that we are remorseful or have genuine regret for any harm we may have caused, whether intentionally or unintentionally. People who take action to fix-up and follow up are displaying integrity as they are walking the talk. Their actions are reflective of the words they speak.

Finally, to the words thank you. Sometimes a thank you is sufficient. Thank you relates closely to the concept of gratitude. I believe that just like number 5 above sometimes a thank you resonates more clearly when backed up by a follow up action. What this action looks like depends on the time given and the level of kindness and care that may have been shown.

The value of common courtesy no matter how quickly the world changes and evolves will always be important. At Rutherford we believe that the words please, thank you, excuse me and sorry are linked closely to showing respect, taking responsibility, displaying integrity and striving for personal excellence.

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