Surely, being a shareholder of Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway must be without bumps, right?
Warren Buffett -- American investor, business magnate, and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway -- definitely has a track record of successful business decisions. He has, after all, a net worth of $87.5 billion as of February 2018.
But, like all leaders of business, he is not without his share of mistakes. And some of these bad decisions have come at the expense of his shareholders.
When Buffett finds himself in the aftermath of a bad decision that affects his shareholders investments, this business titan is always sure to apologize in an effective and meaningful way.
Buffett, in his apologies to shareholders, cuts straight to the point with an authentic and relatable tone. For example, in a letter with his 1996 annual report, Buffett detailed, "A friend once asked me: 'If you're so rich, why aren't you smart?'" In describing a gamble on USAir. He then wrote, "You may conclude he had a point."
His leadership style matches the style of his apologies, which is self-critical, honest, and genuine. "He doesn't hesitate to point this stuff out, and it's not just for the shareholders," says James Armstrong, who has presided over Berkshire investor Henry H. Armstrong Associates.
Buffett is not one to whine, complain, or ignore his faulty decisions. In fact, his apologies come with thoughtful assessments that, no matter the weight of his decisions, keep his reputation and public persona generally very positive.
Because of his honest and self-critical apologies, Buffett maintains and attracts even more trust, which leads him to more business partnerships. His tendency to admit his mistakes, rather than pretending that they never occurred, is what keeps him on a journey of success.
When it comes to how he evaluates his bad decisions, the billionaire businessman knows best: "Agonizing over errors is a mistake. But acknowledging and analyzing them can be useful, though that practice is rare in corporate boardrooms."