September 28 & 29, 2020 | Virtual
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The best solution would be to get his commitment to collaborate. You can use influencing techniques for this. A good example is in the book 'Crucial Conversations'. It works but takes time to prepare.
Nobody is not replaceble.
You could remove him from the project and ask somebody else to do their best to provide the solution quickly. It is a challenge. Maybe chose someone your guy respects.
Formally you could go to the sponsor and ask for help, not sure how strong or willing they are and it is better to solve such stuff yourself.
And - though unethically - you can force him out or comply. Avoid emotions on your side. Identify the key reasons for his self-image and -confidence and attack them. It is bullying and I do not recommend it, it is a common tactic though.
You are not a ghost on your project, you are the guy who makes it happen. Display this attitude.
Although the company has a very flat reporting structure, I would assume you need to report your own progress to somebody. I would report that the stoplight color for your project is now Red, because you do not have a plan, and you can't develop a plan without input, so you need help.
You need to do a risk assessment to explain why this is a valid concern, and not that you are being overly cautious. Is the project completion going to slide day-for-day until you get input? Do you have a risk of major rework if the input is not provided? To demonstrate the importance of this issue, you need to clearly describe the consequence. I try to be conservative in this regard and show the magnitude of the problem in a best case scenario to demonstrate you are not overstating it.
If the other stakeholders don't care and provide help, you are in trouble. Sometimes that can be a valuable learning experience for the leadership team. If you come to them with a clear and present issue and they don't help, the issue may become much larger than the risk tolerance of the stakeholders.
Honestly, if you can’t get a clear answer I find copying the individual’s boss on an email lights a fire under someone, unless you have the same manager in which case you can have a discussion.
I use this as a last resort for people who don’t reply to repeated emails, when all influencing fails because I find that a CYA email where I copy a manager proves that I’m trying and also covers for a situation where someone might be out of office that I don’t know about.
In the latter case, the manager will tell me then that so and so is out on emergency leave or whatever and try to get someone else to help me.
Assuming you have bent over backwards already to make it easy for him to help you out, then you need to find some other way to create a sense of urgency in the individual.
One way might be that if he is responsible for training-related content, let him know that if you have to find someone else to do it and the quality is lacking, this will reflect poorly on him.
Has any effort been made to establish why the individual is reluctant to participate? Knowing why may provide some direction as to best response. Typically people drag their feet when they don't understand or don't agree with the intent of the project. Maybe its personal - maybe he feels he should be in charge of the project. Being Head of Training he must have some talent and can (and has) produced good work in the past.
Find his motivation buttons and push them.
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