What's the advice of great CEOs, including Vanguard Group's Jack Bogle, when it comes to admitting mistakes? Do it.
So why is that so hard?
Take, as an example, the Wells Fargo debacle, with the bank sinking deeper into a scandal over 5,300 employees who opened fee-generating accounts for customers without authorization, ultimately leading to the Senate grilling for Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf on Tuesday. Could the Wells Fargo CEO have nipped this headline scandal in the bud if he had been more contrite?
Last week Stumpf and other senior executives first placed the blame on certain Wells Fargo employees and denied any problem with the bank's culture. "Underperformers" was the term they used to define the culprits.
By the time of his Senate testimony, Stumpf had learned it's better to hold yourself accountable. "It's against everything we stand for as a company," Stumpf said under tough questioning from senators. "That said, I accept full responsibility for all unethical sales practices in our retail banking business."
"I always thought I looked better admitting a mistake," said Bogle. It's a lesson he also learned the hard way early on in his career as a company leader.