Brad's working on something that's been outstanding since 2008. Now before I go bash him, in his defense, prior to being in his new group within my team, and prior to me being here, he has been supervised by our weakest manager/director. A guy who works hard, but is terrible at project management, communicating status, and prioritizing. A guy who is no longer a manager/director in our group. Even I have to admit that it might be hard to rise above your environment.
That aside, let me start bashing. Not only has he had responsibility for a project that's been outstanding since 2008, but he's managed to piss off the Europeans during the process. And they're complaining to me. So we call a meeting. To give Brad a chance to explain the situation.
"So Brad, help me understand what we need to get this done."
Seemed like a simple question. And he gave me a simple answer. "Well, I gotta do this thing."
"Great, Brad. So how long will it take to do this thing?"
"Well, about 3-4 days." Ok, I'm thinking . . . 3-4 dedicated days . . . we'll transfer his responsibilities to so-and-so for a week, let a few of his partners know . . .
"Really? 3-4 days, Brad? We can do that. So that's it - you do the thing and then we're done?"
"Well, we're done with that part. Then we gotta do the other thing. Then a different thing. Then we have to wait a long time, 'cause that country's finance team operates on 'island time'. Then we gotta give the thing to the other guys and then they prepare another thing and we gotta sign the thing . . . "
Fortunately he was on the other end of a phone instead of in the room with me where I would have disintegrated him with my eye lasers.
"Did we give them deadlines to get back to us Brad (hint, your answer should have been 'yes')? Did we follow up on the deliverables (come on, you know what the answer should be . . . )?"
"Well, I mean, we gave them stuff, but then the merger happened, and you know how that went . . . " Eye lasers activated and waiting, while he hemmed and hawed.
"Project management, Brad. We need to track this stuff, item by item, and put a timeline on it, and then hold everyone to it. Including yourself."
Today, I got an email from him. A random list of stuff. No dates, no assignment of responsibility, no nothing. Just like a big pile of past due poo. I walked over to his new direct supervisor.
"Did you see the e-mail?" I asked, tapping one high-heel leather boot that was itching to kick something(one).
Poor M smiled and held up a hand. "Let me deal with Brad."
I bit my tongue and strode back to my desk, maintaining a well-practiced executive calm.
But I've got two hands that feel the serious need to wrap themselves around a windpipe and squeeze. I'd stay out of range until Brad gets me a timeline.