Here's the core concept: the "managerial moment of truth" (MMOT) occurs when a supervisor and someone for whom she or he is directly responsible share a face-to-face interaction during which both are completely honest with each other about a given situation or issue. These interactions can involve praise and recognition for performance "above and beyond the call of duty," constructive criticism offered in response to unacceptable performance or inappropriate behavior, or collaboration on the solution of a problem or obtaining an answer to an especially important question. These and other interactive situations offer unique, potentially invaluable learning opportunities to create a shared experience during which important truth is revealed.
In this volume, Bruce Bodaken and Robert Fritz explain how the "managerial moment of truth approach" - one of mutual exploration and learning - can achieve and then sustain a decisive competitive advantage for any organization, regardless of its size or nature. They assert - and I wholly agree - that all managers must decide whether or not to ignore or explore especially important performance issues, especially in today's world where change is the only constant, especially in the workplace. They focus on how to prepare for and then create moments of "unvarnished" truth of substantial benefit to an individual, work teams, cross-discipline teams, senior management, subcontractor relationships, and strategic alliances. "Today, organizations are faced with sudden shifts in marketplace realities, migrating economics, and the lightning speed of globalization. The organizations that can deal with these changing realities have the best prospect for survival... Those organizations that cannot `handle the truth' will be left in the dust."
Of special interest to me is what Bodaken and Fritz provide in Chapter 7, "The Art of the Question: Exploring Reality." They correctly insist that to obtain the most important answers, it is necessary to ask the right questions. They identify four types of questions that can help to penetrate and reveal reality: information ("to expand the picture when we conduct a MMOT"), clarification ("to help define imprecise or unknown terms"), implication ("to recognize what is implied, and ask the person if it is true") and discrepancy ("to sort out contradictions"). There are two separate but related challenges: to ask the right type of question, and, to persist until a truthful and sufficient answer to it has been obtained. "Questions are a powerful tool for true dialogue and exploration. They enable us to see far beyond our usual vantage point. They guide us through new territories. They open new worlds of possibilities. They are the keys to the MMOT."
In the Foreword, Peter Senge describes the MMOT as "an elegant method that could have a significant impact in terms of "acknowledging present reality, examining people's thinking about hot it got that way, creating a plan for what needs to change, [and] establishing a feedback system to track improvement against that plan." Bodaken and Fritz suggest that those who are convinced of the value of the MMOT try it in small and simple situations first and dedicate themselves to the follow-through. Sense's advice also makes sense. "Do not expect others to implement what you yourself do not. Do not become an advocate for others to change their behavior. Become a practitioner of the managerial moment of truth yourself and ask others around you to help you be a good one." Senge then suggests that those unwilling and/or unable to do so, who "are not ready for this," set this book aside.
In all human communities, trust is the "glue" which holds them together and is almost entirely based on truth in the relationships between and among those involved. Bodaken and Fritz explain in this volume how the MMOT can improve on-the-job performance, of course, but in process will help to strengthen the aforementioned "glue" in ways and to an extent that otherwise would not be possible.