This concept is most associated with Jan Carlson, a former CEO of SAS (Scandinavian Air Services), in the context of customer care. He took over leadership of the airline at a time of deep recession and identified that that the only differentiator he could call on to succeed was his people.
Carlson calculated that in a single trip, on average, a traveller would come into contact with a member of SAS staff five times. Each of these contact points was a defining moment – a “moment of truth” – because it is in the moment and at the point of this snapshot that a traveller decides whether to use the supplier’s services again. Carlson did all he could to develop staff management of these moments, with astonishing success.
A person can know his/her job to perfection, but what counts will be the critical interaction with the client, a stakeholder or another party.
Understanding this concept of moments of truth can change everything. So, too, with leadership effectiveness. From the moment you arrive at your place of work, staff and workplace partners experience moments of truth. It is during these snapshot interactions – from meeting and greeting to dealing with problems in meetings and in one-to-one conversations – that your leadership effectiveness, your authenticity and credibility, are on the line.
The key question, therefore, is this: how do you handle such moments?