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Blog Post - Leaders Go First

A few years back, Jan Carlzon, then CEO of Scandinavian Airlines, wrote a book entitled Moments of Truth. Carlzon defines the moments of truth this way: “Anytime a customer comes into contact with any aspect of a business, however remote, it is an opportunity to form a positive impression with that customer.”

Jan asked all of his associates to make every moment of truth a positive experience for the customers. His people’s response took the failing airline and turned it around to be one of the most respected airlines in the industry.

That’s the short version of the story. There’s always a story behind the story. In this case, the story behind the story answers the question, “Yes, but how did he get them to follow that request?”

The simple answer is, “They trusted him.”

What did he do to deserve that trust? That’s the heart of the issue. They believed he cared about them. You’ve heard the expression, “I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care.” they knew he cared. And how did they know? Because he used his own leadership “moments of truth” to communicate to them that he cared and could be trusted to put their interest ahead of his own. Yes, that’s the definition of the word trust. Trust is a belief that another person has your best interest at heart, even above his or her own.

Wearing a badge that says “I’m trustworthy” doesn’t do it. Trust is something we earn, like earning a salary, earning a degree, or earning an opportunity to do something we’ve always dreamed to do. Earning trust is doing things that others can count on.

Trust implies coming from your heart, not just your head. It implies opening up your vulnerable self, showing your warts as well as your wits.

Yes, leaders do go first.

Post by Jim Leslie - Leadership 3P
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