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Truth never gets old… December 7, 2009

Posted by Muckzak in Moments of Truth, Uncategorized.
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Reading ‘Moments of Truth’ by Jan Carlzon was like getting into the old trusty DeLorean and zapping back to the future (I now realize that opening blog lines referencing films from decades ago is my thing…) – it was familiar, predictable and innovative for its time. 

The book was originally published in 1987.  Email was unheard of in the average household, airline tickets were actually booked through agents and not one case study had been written on the genius of SWA.  Given this point of reference, the book was actually refreshing to read and included a great roadmap for leading a company in both strategy and execution. 

A leader develops a comprehensive strategy primarily oriented towards the needs of the market it serves.  Customer focus is the key and all objectives begin from the customer’s point of view.  Once the objectives are determined, the leader has to articulate and communicate to the board of directors, the unions and the employees.  You have to then empower people to achieve the goal and establish measures to ensure the company is headed in the right direction.  Empowering people means delegating and, often, this works best with a flatter organizational structure. 

Here are several insights that I thought were worth sharing:

  • Giving someone the freedom to take responsibility releases resources that would otherwise remain concealed
  • An individual without information cannot take responsibility, an individual who is given information cannot help but take responsibility.
  • A leader is not appointed because he knows everything and can make every decision.  He is appointed to bring together the knowledge that is available and then create prerequisites for the work to be done. 
  • When you are oriented toward your customers, you are probably in the business of providing them with a service in addition to the ‘hardware’ itself. 

The book was a quick read and I would definitely keep it on my shelf as a quick litmus test when trying to put the customer first without losing sight of leading an organization.

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