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Prepare your organization for moments of truth December 7, 2009

Posted by Ignacio Larrain in Moments of Truth, [Books] Leadership & Change.

In this book Jan Carlzon – CEO of SAS Group from 1981 to 1994 – talks about moments of truth and how can companies make the best out of them. A moment of truth is a moment in which we interact with a customer and this interaction helps build this client’s perception of what the company is. These moments of truth are critical since this is what clients will remember and many times they will decide after that moment if they would like to stay as customers of the company or if they will seek other alternatives. This looks great in paper, but the problem arises in the implementation stage since those moments of truth are mostly very short moments – sometimes less than twenty seconds – and a company has thousands of them every day. And all employees, but especially those in the front line, will be responsible for shaping customers’ perceptions at every moment of truth.

In the book Jam Carlzon talks about different issues we should consider to create the necessary environment to take real advantage of those moments.

This is a short list of some interesting elements from the book that can help us move in this proposed direction:

  • Move from a production-driven company to a service-driven company
  • The job of a leader is not to make all the decisions but to generate conditions for others to do theirs jobs better
  • The ability to delegate responsibilities is crucial
  • The company needs to have a clear and simple vision that everyone understands and shares
  • Flatter organizations: everyone closer to clients and more responsibility to the front line
  • Role of middle management changes from decision making to being responsible for getting those resources needed by the front line
  • If front-line employees are now more responsible they have to become more comfortable with risk taking. A culture of job security and tolerance for mistakes if then needed.
  • Work on communication skills both within and outside the company. Clear and simple messages are the most powerful ones.
  • Measure results from a customer’s point of view
  • Reward your employees


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