How being focused can blur your vision

sintmaarten 2

In our company we are all very dedicated to serving our customers with their business problems with bad quality customer master data. Aren’t we all?

A few days ago, one of our customer support desk engineers sought an answer to what happens with the addresses on the islands of the former Netherlands Antilles. See also my previous post The dissolution of a nation. Kids of my generation had to memorize the names of these islands at primary school: the ABC islands – Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao – and the three islands with an “S”: Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten. My colleague, now fully internet savvy, wanted to look up an address on Sint Maarten. Why not use an internet map and type “sint maarten”?

Yes, here it is! They even have a Spar supermarket there (just like home), and the address of this supermarket shows a postal code! A postal code with the same structure as in the Netherlands (NNNN AA). Pleased with this catch, he started to compose an answer to the customer.

Just before sending it, I passed his desk and we started talking about this (the topic has my attention, you know). And he showed me the map proving his arguments: the coastline was near. But when we zoomed out, the picture became clearer: tunnel vision obscured that he had been focused on Sint Maarten near the Dutch coast!

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