The presentation kicked off on a positive note. The supporting deck was crisp, detailed, and broad. The voice on the other end of the line was confident, persuasive. The third person in the conversation was calm and mature, a willing enabler.
As I listened point by point, I reflected on the data points I had on the subject. While many were stories told by others in the space, I also had a series of numbers and data points from the systems that record our business activities. Up to this presentation I had found a comforting consistency between the stories and the numbers.
With each point, even in my limited time, I found myself growing increasingly uncomfortable. Unable to let the words flow unchallenged, I asked a diplomatic question.
“I am confused. From what I have seen so far, the numbers do not support the points you are making.”
I know that there are endless reasons for historical facts being inconsistent with the broader story. While I could guess, I wanted to hear the perspective from this presentation.
“Good point. I am not sure why they are inconsistent. Let me check into this and come back to you.”
“Ok. For now, can you describe the details from one point?” The point was specific and simple enough that I assumed the underlying facts could be easily recounted.
“I am not sure. Let me revert.”
Everything within me wanted to scream! This is ridiculous. A responsible manager would know. This was no complicated. It was a people related question, especially critical. My zealous passion was tempered by memories and an old vow; “I’m determined to watch steps and tongue so they won’t land me in trouble. I decided to hold my tongue as long as Wicked is in the room.” (Psalm 39.1)
Words, truth, and battles have a time and place. Even as I look back, I know that the setting was not the right one for discovering the truth. I love the words and actions of passionate zealots, especially when they emerge in context of the greater story.