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What will be your ‘Moments of Truth?’

  • Published
  • By Col. John Price
  • 375th Air Mobility wing Vice commander
This week we've launched our first Operational Readiness Exercise in preparation for our June 2013 Operational Readiness Inspection. As we prepare, I want to steer us away from thinking that the ORI is one big "moment of truth" when all of our training will be equivalent to a graded score. I want us instead to focus on the thousands of moments of truth that occur every day which speaks to the core character of our mighty 3-7-5 Showcase Wing and to the individuals who comprise our team.

Jan Carlzon, former president of Scandinavian Airlines, does a great job of capturing and illustrating this concept in his 1989 book "Moments of Truth." The moments of truth concept is the idea that an organization's overall performance is the sum of countless interactions between customers and employees, the so-called moments of truth that either help to retain a customer or send him to the competition.

Moments of truth occur face-to-face, over the phone, via email, and through many other means of person-to-person interaction each day. While we may not be counting customers or worried about competition like some of our civilian business partners, the concept is equally valid because every interaction we have either builds the cohesion and capability of Team Scott or detracts from it.

Many members of our wing already have a firm understanding of this concept as it relates to dealing with our community partners, distinguished visitors, or new arrivals to the base. We typically recognize the importance of creating a good impression and, therefore, try to put our best foot forward. Our challenge is to adopt this same approach for every interaction we have and not just save it for special occasions. Think of the impact you could have each day if you chose to make each moment of truth count for your organization. We all need to come to the realization that the vast majority of our customers are our fellow Airmen, and they desire and deserve that same excellent service we provide to our most select customers. That little bit of extra effort required to sustain the positive attitude and provide courteous service is what makes the difference in every moment of truth. I am convinced that retention decisions and morale levels of all of our Airmen and their families are grounded in how well we treat them during their time of service.

Your moment of truth may come today as you serve as a sponsor for a new member of the team, or it may be the new spouse of a deployed Airman who is calling with a question about a travel voucher or needs help with the Child Development Center. It could be the smile and courtesy that you provide the person coming through the main gate or at customer service at finance. Maybe someone calls your phone number by mistake and then needs help finding the right number. Or it may simply be a fellow squadron member who interrupts your afternoon work flow because he or she needs your assistance. Regardless of your role, you undoubtedly face numerous moments of truth each day.

Our challenge is to recognize the moments and then take full advantage of them. So as we continue our preparation for the big report card next June, let's not overlook the thousands of smaller moments that lay before us each day. It is through these moments that we can show our "showcase" attitude. Together we can make Scott AFB the envy of the Air Force as the best place to live and work.