The 1-7 drubbing of Brazil by Germany has been confirmed as no freak event. The third / fourth play -off defeat 0-3 to the Netherlands revealed that this is both a team and a country still in shock. Brazil is finding that their (now ex) national coach Felipe Scolari manager was a little optimistic when he declared that Brazil had “one hand on the World Cup” after their quarter final victory over Colombia. Success can so often be an elusive quarry.
But strangely despite the current outcry and wave of national despair, it is quite feasible that in a few years, a resurgent Brazilian side will once more be dazzling the football world with a new team full of new talent, and oozing with the style of play that Brazil were once renowned. If so Brazil will be able to reflect that this was the precise moment they underwent an MOT.
Now I should explain at this point that the MOT I am referring to is not the same as the one that my battered Renault Clio will shortly face. I am referring to a Moment Of Truth (MOT).
A Moment of Truth (MOT) was a phrase first coined by Jan Carlzon the former CEO of Swedish Airline SAS. It is meant to refer to a key moment of interaction when a business engages with a customer. The response of the business at that precise moment determines whether the relationship prospers or falters.
Carlzon was one of the first to breakdown the long term reputation of an organisation into a series of individual defining moments. These responses can be further broken down into the attitudes of individual employees and their everyday attitudes to the needs of customers. There is an old sales adage that says “people buy from people they trust”. I firmly believe this to be true, it can be added that trust and reputation are built on the “bricks” of individual acts of attitude and response. Such acts are not always easy, and can require courage and conviction.
Building our own career or starting up a business is not so very different. In each case we will face our own MOT’s. It is how we respond to these MOT’s that will determine whether we get the job we want, or build the business we believe in.
Jan Carlzon certainly knew what he was talking about. When he left SAS in 1994 after 13 years in charge the fortunes of the airline had been transformed. He went on to set up a venture capitalist group and build several other successful businesses along the same principles, as well as forge a career as an author and key note conference speaker.
In one of my recent blogs I asked the question: Does sport help develop business skills? It may be that the demise of Brazilian football over both the past week is not the national disaster it currently seems, but a moment when the Brazilian team re-discovers the importance of an MOT, and starts delivering on a customer promise.