Business Intelligence Professionals Are Like Batman

I made some slides for a sales summit and received a lot of positive feedback. In fact, the sales manager owes me lunch. But something happened at the meeting that broke an unspoken rule…. they gave me credit on stage.

From the Shadows…
Our work is best done in the shadows. We help a business use and depend on numbers so that they don’t have to make decisions based simply on a “gut feeling.”  We make the information accessible and digestible.  Making a manager shine or saving the company money can be very powerful, but getting open credit is much like having a board member of Wayne Incorporated telling the shareholders that Bruce Wayne is Batman.

At the last moment…
Giving vital information to a manager instead of publishing it yourself creates a safety net.  Batman doesn’t go public with information.   Batman brings information to Commissioner Gordon who then decides what to do with the information.  Commission Gordon never says, “Batman said we should do….”  He makes the decision and responds.  Having another person validate and respond in context of the situation creates a safety net that can save you at the last moment.

The manager may have more information or can connect the information you provide to some other situation in the company.  This will help validate your work and keeps those in charge in the position of knowing the best way to handle the situation.

Once when I published a report showing the ROI on a promotion, the results were not what I expected.  The manager quickly defended the promotion and began to cast doubt on the research.  The next time I did an analysis, I went to the manager with my findings first.  I asked him to put it in context with the other activities of the business, and the result was that he “owned” the findings and presented them.  FYI… in both situations the ROI was negative.

In this example, my safety net was there because I asked the manager to take my information and present it.  That allowed him to check it with the rest of the activities of the business.  If there had been a problem with the information or a flaw in the logic based on some business changes, my safety net would have caught me at the last moment.

Suddenly out of nowhere…

When you’ve earned credibility, managers will respond when you bring up something “from out of nowhere.”  When Batman tells Commissioner Gordon to get a warrant or check someone out, it carries clout. This is because Batman has a track record of delivering the right information at the right time.  This credibility allows him the option to ask for special assistance from Commissioner Gordon.  If the paper boy tells Commissioner Gordon the same information, he may take it or leave it.

If you are short on work, a public announcement may drum up some new customers. But this will mean that you will be doing work that you didn’t ask for. You want to work on things that you are passionate about. You want to focus on things that make a huge benefit to the company. Batman doesn’t give out speeding tickets. He’s looking and working on the big issues. If he were putting tickets on parked cars, he wouldn’t be keeping Gotham safe.

My hope is that those who heard my name didn’t write it down.  If there’s no written documentation, I at least have plausible deniability.

Photo Credit: imdb

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