Friend doesn’t deliver in business proposal
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DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been working on a business idea with a few friends for a year now. The core group of us have had individual responsibilities to get the idea to the next level. One person in our group is not carrying her weight, though. She has promised to deliver proposals and descriptions of the scope of work for her area and so far has come up with nothing. There’s always an excuse of some kind. I’m fed up, and the rest of the team is feeling demoralized. We are ready to take things to the next level, but her part of the presentation is empty — literally. I have talked to her about it repeatedly, but still no movement. To be fair, I know she is busy, but we all are. My fear is that after everything is up and running, she will jump back in and want to take credit for something she didn’t do. I know she’s my friend, but I think it’s time to cut her loose. How can I do that and preserve the friendship? — Letting Go
DEAR LETTING GO: It is time for a professional meeting of the minds. Sit down with her and ask her what’s going on. Pointedly inquire as to where her deliverables are — those that you have been waiting for all year. Note the work others have been doing and how she is not doing her part. Tell her that if she cannot deliver by a particular date, you will have to sever ties for this project. It’s not personal; it’s business. Yes, she may be angry or hurt at first, but you have to move on. In time, she may come to understand that it is her behavior that got her to this point.
Do note that it can be difficult and messy to work with friends, so establish clear boundaries and expectations upfront whenever you do.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a co-worker who is sloppy. Now that we work in the office three days a week, it can be nasty to come back after five days and see debris from lunch, dirty tissues and other stuff on and around her desk. I worry that she will attract vermin and bugs. Plus, it’s just not professional. When I have meetings at the office or even if another team member stops by to ask a question, they have to pass by her desk, and it is embarrassing. How can I get her to clean up after herself? — Messy Co-Worker
DEAR MESSY CO-WORKER: Start documenting her mess. Take photos that show how she is leaving her area. Talk to her and ask her to clean up daily for the good of the office. Show her the photos so she can see what it looks like to others. If she doesn’t budge, go to her supervisor, show them the photos and ask for help. Sometimes people don’t see what is obvious to others. A nudge may help her step up and do her part.