Giles is upset about what he is hearing. The stakeholder whom he works with has again escalated an issue to his manager. He finds it odd that despite all the hard work he does for the stakeholder ‘silly’ stuff gets forwarded on to his leader. He calls his friend, Sharon to share his situation and seek her views. What follows is a conversation between them. Think about the situation and contribute your perspectives.
Giles: “Thanks Sharon for taking the time. I haven’t been sleeping well these days thinking of the issues that keep getting escalated.”
Sharon: “That’s ok. I am happy to be a sounding board”.
Giles: “You know I work hard and give it all I have. My stakeholder in the engineering team has worked with me for a few months now and we often meet regularly. I have attended most of the meetings she calls for. I also try and give updates on time. Sometimes, I miss it due to other pressing work.”
Sharon: “That’s interesting. Have you let her know when you were unable to share an update and the reasons?”
Giles: “You know how it is. There are multiple campaigns to manage, many people stop by my desk and I need to respond. There are others who ping me on the instant messenger service. Then, there is my manager who expects me to review other stuff. All this means that sometimes I am unable to give an update.”
Sharon: “So, have you found a way out to manage your time better and to engage your stakeholder differently?”
Giles: “Well, I have a list which I look at. Although, I don’t know if that is what I need to be working on for the day. We have a team meeting where we catch-up. I can’t get through all the e-mail that pours in. Some ask for information, some are just fyi and some are actions which need to be taken. Now I go ‘offline’ on instant messenger to avoid those numerous requests that people ask online. I have started to take a ‘break’ from the non-stop work by sitting in the cafeteria for a while.”
Sharon: “What does your stakeholder think about your ability to deliver work?”
Giles: “It seems patchy. Sometimes they think I do well, often times they are upset that I don’t keep them posted.”
Sharon: “What stops you from letting them know?”
Giles: “I am trying to be more organized but there is always that gap. Why do they need to get so upset about not getting an update? Why can’t they see how much I have already done for them?“
Sharon: “What does your manager think about all this?”
Giles: “She is obviously upset that the stakeholder doesn’t get their update on time and expects more of me.”
Sharon: “Not surprising. I would too if I was managing anyone. No one likes surprises you see! Would you?”
Giles: “What surprises? I think it is all going fine. I don’t think there is an issue.”
Sharon: “You don’t? Then, why would there ever be an escalation? What do you think escalations mean and do?”
Giles: “I guess they only mean that the stakeholder is acting funny and being ‘mean’!”
Sharon: “Giles! You really need to think about this. This can lead to other stuff. Do you want to chat again after a few weeks and check if there have been any improvements?”
Giles: “Hmm. I probably need to have a think.”
How can you help Giles see the implications of his actions or rather inactions?