In the last article, we looked at how we must be honest with ourselves about the reality of a situation in order to accurately name reality and chart a path forward. Today, we will look more practically at a four-step process you can take to uncover the truth and come to a mutual understanding between parties. 


The Moment of Truth Process

This four-step process is helpful in a myriad of situations. You can use it with an employee who has missed a deadline, a child who hasn’t completed their chores, or even with yourself. 

The first step in the Moment of Truth process is facts. We must first establish the facts of what happened. This happens by asking yes or no questions such as “was the deadline set for Monday,” “did you take out the trash,” or “did I go to bed after midnight?” 

Our tendency is to jump to the second stage, story, and try to justify why something has happened. But the first stage challenges us to own up to the facts before attempting to explain the reason. This also helps establish a common reality between all parties. And sometimes the issue can be solved right there if the answer to the question “was the deadline set for Monday” turns out to be “no, it is set for Friday.” 

That leads us to the second step: story. Why something happened is important, but we need to set the facts straight first instead of jumping straight into the why. Story attempts to get to the root cause of an issue. For our example of the missed deadline, the reason was a lack of clarity around when the deadline was. Both parties might not have been included in an email update, and therefore they didn’t have the same deadline in their calendar. 

Structure- Leadership- You

Remember the acronym SLY for correcting mistakes. 85% of the time, a miss occurs due to structure. Most of the time, in order to correct the mistake, you need to correct the structure that allowed the mistake to happen in the first place. This could be anything from communication channels, routines, or processes. Structure demands behavior, so the systems you have in place will determine the actions done within them. 

10% of the time a miss occurs due to leadership. This might happen because of a lack of clarity or miscommunication. 

And only 5% of the time is the cause of the miss solely the person’s fault. 

During the story stage, seek to figure out which of these categories the cause of the miss lies in so that you can chart an effective path forward to fixing the problem. 

Moving Forward

The third step of the Moment of Truth process is plan. Here, you take the information you gained through facts and story and use it to make SMART goals for improvement. These could involve goals like setting boundaries, creating healthy habits, or developing new systems. 

Then, make sure you come back for the last step: feedback. Give the plan a determined period of time (utilizing the Time-Bound element of SMART), and reconvene to revisit the goals and see if they are yielding the desired results. Do you need tighter boundaries placed and more oversight, or are you ready to take on more responsibility? 

This goes for Moments of Truth that you’re having with yourself too. Put a date on your calendar to look at your personal goals, or even invite a trusted friend or mentor to look at the goals you set for yourself with you to get additional feedback in your life. 

We cannot live in a lie and expect to get better. It is only by being honest with ourselves and others about where we are and what we’re struggling with that we can move forward. The Moment of Truth process gives you practical steps to uncover reality and make a plan to improve. 

Gracie McBride is the Content and Systems Coordinator at The Crossroad.