Implementation · Investigation · Leading change

Using a moments of truth analysis to assess a team’s readiness for change

I have previously blogged about a number of approaches to assessing a team’s readiness for change, including the 7-S framework and the arenas of change approach, but today I thought I would explain a less well known approach – the “moments of truth” assessment.

Actually I made it up so it is not too well understood outside of my own loungeroom.  The approach is essentially the same as the 7-S style of assessing the interaction of the multiple systems, skills, stucture and other elements of the team’s whole ecosystem. But this is a little different because we start by looking at when (and why) the team’s internal or external customers interact with it.  Then we assess the team’s ability to support those interactions.

Moment of truth(n)  a moment when a person or thing is put to the test

Collins English Dictionary as quoted at

Any interaction with a client is “a moment of truth” for the team. It tests the connection between the team’s value proposition, strategy, implementation, staff, skills and systems and it generates the experience that lasts in the customer’s memory until he or she interacts with the team again.

A “moments of truth analysis” therefore starts by identifying the interactions a team has with its customers, stakeholders and potentially vendors.

When do customers interact with the team?

Starting this analysis is quite simple, although it could potentially be time consuming.

  1. Find out what products or services the team provides to customers or stakeholders. This would involve their official products and also complaints, requests for information and other “back-office” approaches.
  2. For each product and service, identify the times and context in which the customer interacts with the team. These are the “moments of truth”.
  3. For each moment of truth, find out why the customer is interacting with the team and what they want to achieve out of the interaction.

What happens when customers interact with the team?

The next step is to understand how the team interacts with the customer in the moment of truth.

  • Who initiates the contact?
  • Is it a one off thing or part of an ongoing process?
  • What happens?

Once you know when and how customers interact with the team you can map these into the series of interactions that typically create a “customer journey”.  This is the simply a typical accumulation of interactions the customer has with the team.  For  an internal accounting support team the journey of one of their customers (department heads) might be:

  • Establish budget
  • Receive monthly report
  • Query strange amounts
  • Request ad hoc report
  • Prepare next year’s budget

Mapping the interactions from the team’s perspective

This is the point where you start to analyse the things that may be impacted by any changes you make to the team, as well as anything that could go wrong or be improved.

For each interaction you can ask questions such as:

  • How often does this occur?
  • How long does it typically take?
  • Which other interactions will potentially impact this experience?
  • What is the context in which this interaction is taking place?
  • What was the last interaction the team had with the customer and typically how long ago  would that interaction have been?
  • What inputs does the team need to support this interaction?
  • What comes out of the interaction – from the team’s point of view and the customer’s?
  • What skills and knowledge does the team member need to deliver this service?
  • Who in the team is involved?
  • What guides, manuals or tools does the team member rely on?
  • What measures or service level agreements does the team have in place?
  • What might go wrong?
    • What would cause this?
    • What would happen if it did?
    • What would happen next?
    • How might any potential changes make this interaction better or worse? Which of the above aspects of the interaction could potentially be impacted?  Which could negatively impact the potential change?

Assess the supporting processes if relevant

Once you have mapped out the moments of truth you can also map the internal processes that the team performs in order to be ready for those moments of truth.

Wrapping up the moment of truth analysis

The final stage is to consider how each of these elements interacts with the others to support or hinder the team’s ability to provide positive “moments of truth”. This can be combined with the 7-S or arenas of change approaches to understand how the team is currently set up to provide its services and how resilient they will be if and when you implement a particular change.


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