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Unwilling to plan

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Question: "I co-chair a committee with someone who's unwilling to plan. I'll want to discuss the next meeting or upcoming priorities, and he'll say, 'I can't talk about that right now. Catch me later.' Of course, he doesn't have time 'later,' either.

"How can I force this person to focus?"  -- Jean, Michigan


I'd look for another co-host and suggest to this person that since they are so busy that maybe it would be wise to ask someone else to co-host.

I agree with Valerie. Either find another partner, or do it yourself ... and get a competent committee to help you. Even committee chairs have someone to report progress to, and let that person(s) know about the change in leadership. Take the bull by the horns, do your best, and graciously accept credit for a job well-done. (Don't forget to acknowledge your committee, too.)

Take the lead on the project. Tell him what you plan to do at the next meeting and what you believe are the priorities. If he has any strong objections or suggestions he will let you know. Keep your project moving forward, by not waiting on him, but do keep him informed. You will be admired for your initiative.

You really can't force anyone to do anything unless you go to their supervisor to complain. This may not be the best thing to do. If you can't seek another co-chair, I suggest taking the more direct approach next time saying, "This is what I'm planning to do. Let me know if you disagree before ___ when I intend to move ahead with the plan."

For items where you'd really like some input, you can always seek advice from others you trust. Just be sure not to make your co-chair look bad because that will reflect poorly on you.

Good luck.

In your situation your co chair obviously has not made the committee a priority. Chances are you are either going to have to take the lead and go on your own without the co-chair unless he moves the committee up on his priority list.

My bet is that the others in the group notice how you seem to be leading all the time. If it is not a large group, talk to the rest of the members beforehand and ask them to bear with you at the next meeting. Then when your co-chair says, "catch me later," tell him you'll let him plan and run the next meeting. Then do it. Don't pick up the slack, don't bail him out - make him deal with what he has created (or failed to create). You pre-warned the committee members, so they'll know what's up. When you call his bluff and he sees you didn't continue to cover for him in front of the group, I bet he'll find time to plan with you in the future. Or, maybe, you'll get a surprise and he'll do a great job and save you all the planning for a change.

I agree with Bernie. We cannot change others. It is better to work from our own point of view in making changes.

You could take an assertive approach with the other person and CALMLY express "When you ____ I feel ____. If you continue to ____, I will ____". You need to follow up with what you said you will do.

If the issue comes up in the future, you can let him know what you are planning to do. Give him a date (and time if needed) of when he needs to respond. Let him know if he hasn't responded by that date (time) you will move forward with your plan.

I kind of agree with Been There. Step back. Let the other person handle the next meeting. Many times people step into action when given the room. I myself try to "do it all" and then complain that I get no help. But, when I do step back others shine and I get to relax. If that doesn't work then speak up and give deadlines as suggested by Bernie. Hang in there.

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