Higher-ups often ask questions when things go wrong– “Why are you late?” “What happened to all the coffee?” “Why is my dog dead?”
I used to feel compelled to answer these questions. “There was traffic.” “You drank it all.” “You don’t know how to take care of anything other than yourself; it’s a wonder your children are still alive.”
Then one day, an AD gave me the best advice I ever heard. “When I ask, ‘Why didn’t you bring me these call sheets sooner?’, I don’t actually want to hear the reason. I really don’t care. All I want to hear is, ‘It won’t happen again.'”
And it’s true, he couldn’t care less.1
There’s no point in explaining to your boss what happened. What is he going to do with that information? It’s your job; he doesn’t need to know how to do it.
Besides, explaining what went wrong will just lead to your boss explaining how you should have done it, which you already know, because what you did do didn’t work. “It won’t happen again” is just the easiest, fastest way to get the conversation over with.
Sorry about the overly long, overly serious post. It won’t happen again.
(Easy joke. Sorry. Won’t happen again. I swear.)