Moments of Truth

Many, many years ago, I learned the concept and meaning of “Moments of Truth.” A brief definition is the instance or interaction of contact that forms or changes the impression we have about someone or something. An example or two might help improve your understanding.

Imagine your driving down the highway a little later in the evening. You decide to listen to the pangs of hunger holding a conversation in your stomach. You see a road sign recommending a well known and decently priced family restaurant. You elect to exit the highway in search of some form of nutritional substance. As you approach the restaurant, off in the distance you notice their neon display signage is missing light to several of its letters. As you turn into their parking lot, you see very few cars. You wonder if they are even open. There’s little sign of life. You observe the waste receptacles are overflowing with trash. The wind has strewn debris across the walkway. An overflowing ash urn has been placed close to the front door for employees on break. There is a grimy and sticky residue on the door handle as you open and enter the restaurant.

I could go on with this particular example, but I think you’ve gotten the point(s). I expect many of us would have some regrets or seriously guarded expectations as we enter that restaurant.

On a more positive note many firms are now enacting a rule that “empowers an associate to say ‘yes’.” Too often we see associates hiding behind the rule of “no.” “I’m sorry, but we can’t do that,” they will state. The Ritz-Carleton aims to create “guests for life.” Their legendary service begins with, “Radar on, Antenna up, and Focus.” If they notice a guest’s toothpaste is empty, they replace it. If they overhear of an unpleasant guest experience while sharing an elevator ride, they are expected to correct it.

There are legendary performances on Broadway each and every day. No matter how tired those actors and actresses are, having given the same performance for weeks on end, they know that there is someone sitting in the audience that day who has never seen the production. It is that person, and this Moment of Truth, that guides and directs the production’s performance.

Each of us is on our own version of Broadway every day. There will be countless interactions for us to consider and deliver an all-star performance. These are our own personal Moments of Truth. How do we wish to be seen? I urge us all to have our “Radar on, Antenna up, and Focus!”

How many times today will you “surprise and delight” your audience? Your chances of hitting the target improve with your aim. Aim well, my friends!

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