In my department at work, we utilize two systems. One system shows the people we are hoping to sell our policies to, lists them by name and gives details about the selling opportunity. The second system compiles and analyzes the data from the first system and puts it into reporting form, making it easier to see the number of people each of my sales reps is working on, how long they’ve been working them and their percentage of success, along with other calculations.
There are benefits and drawbacks to each system. The first system gives way too much information to really be effective at looking at the big picture, but gives great detail about what is happening with any particular customer you want to see. The second system is great at pulling all of the information together in an easy-to-read Excel report, but the data is only pulled at least every 4 hours, sometime 5 or 6 hours.
My boss’ boss’ boss’ boss only ever uses the second report when he has his conference calls with his team. And it seems that everyone up at his level believes that this second system is infallible; if it’s on that report, it must be true.
Well, yesterday my boss and I discovered that the second system has some sort of glitch: it’s pulling data that doesn’t exist. According to this system, a former employee has a new customer under her name; said employee has been “former” for 5 months. When you look at the first system, there are NO customers under her name.
The question then became: how do we tell my boss’ boss’ boss’ boss that the system he loves so much is wrong and could potentially be showing him inaccurate data across the board?
Someone suggested to me that I had a decision to make: do I want to be right or do I want to be happy (i.e. employed)?
My job is to assist the sales manager(s) by providing them timely accurate information. If I fail to do this, I’m failing at my job. It is my job to be right. Other managers and their bosses come to me because they know I know these sytems inside and out. They come to me because I’m right.
And yet I can’t bring myself to tell this super-high-up guy that his beloved system is wrong. That it is not the end-all, be-all. Technology is not God; it is created by man, therefore it is bound to have errors.
But how to explain that and not come out sounding like a lowly know-it-all admin?