Rx for Tough Times: Managing Interactions

What’s the biggest hidden killer of business?

It’s central to leadership, sales, influence, persuasion, marketing, performance, doing more with less, getting stuff done on time, taking the right tack, and outwitting your competition in the midst of economic uncertainty.

This is not a trick question.

It’s knowing how to manage interactions.

The road to hell is paved with mishandled interactions.

Sticky problems become stickier when you don’t handle interactions skillfully.

And it doesn’t have to be that way.

Your interactions with customers, colleagues, and especially with your competitors’ strategy make a huge difference.

Jan Carlson, president of SAS Airlines, turned an ailing airline, SAS, around from $20 million in the red to $80 million in earnings by managing interactions. Specifically, he identified 5 significant “Moments of Truth” – the points of contact in your business interactions in which you create advantages or disadvantages. Like baggage handling, seat selection, boarding, and departing from the plane etc.

Carlson asked the question, “What business are we really in? We are not in the business of flying airplanes. We are in the business of providing for the transportation needs of the traveling public. Therefore, our real assets are not the airplanes, but the passengers. We have to focus on giving them quality service for repeat business.”

And Carlson got to work influencing customer perceptions by managing the interactions. On average there were 10,000 daily passengers experiencing 5 Moments of Truth each flight. That’s 50,000 Moments of Truth each and every day.

Carlson was an Advantage-Maker. Shifting interactions changes the game. And furthermore, he shifted structures to accommodate to the new interactions with the customer. By shifting structures you shapes behavior with less resistance.

How many moments of truth does your business have?  Have you identified them?

Do you know how to manage those interactions?

Are you skillfully shifting the structures to shape customer behavior or aligning employee actions?