Background This company has two divisions, A and B. For a year, my peer in A worked on tech X for A and B and was trying to position himself as "cross-divisional lead of X".

B hired me to build and independent X function. Management in B wants X, but also wants to keep good relationships with division A. I want to keep doing my job on X as independently as possible.

My peer in A wants full access to my work. I pushed back, and now we are having a meeting with senior management to discuss "working together".

During this meeting I expect to be put under pressure, with comments like "you are being difficult" or "it's always been like that". I also expect the manager of my peer to try and twist any of my statements into something that will make me look like a fool. At that point, I might become defensive and look weak, making a case for my peer to supervise my work.

On the other hand, it would be relatively easy to demolish my peer, as A) he has less business experience than me, B) he is from another division, and we are TWO different divisions, C) division B is trying to become more independent and having his presence goes against it.

On paper it would be very easy to say "we are two divisions, A and B, but of course we are going to be collaborating on specific projects, and if you need my help in A I am happy to advise", using the legitimate organisational structure to push back.

I can defend myself like that, but I risk damaging diplomatic relationships. Indeed, I might be thrown under a bus if management in B thinks I am damaging relationships with A. The saving grace is that top management in division B, while wanting to keep a good relationship, also wants segment X to become independent in division B.

Question: How can I push back my rival's request for full access to my work (projects and customers) while maintaining good relationships with the other division, avoiding demolishing that person?

(Note: I do expect that rational arguments will be twisted by her manager, e.g. "we are two divisions" met with "yes, but we are one company, we should work as one team...")

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    Other than wanting to work independently, why do you want to deny him access? This guy is the natural peer reviewer for you. – Jim Clay Nov 3 '19 at 11:44
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    @JimClay because this guy is trying to become my boss, and when I joined he treated me condescendingly trying to tell me what to do from day one. – Monoandale Nov 3 '19 at 11:45
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    Why would the two of you collaborating be bad for the project? – Player One Nov 3 '19 at 12:30
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    Is there a reason this even involves developers? This is a management issue. You and your counterpart shouldn't even be in this. As for an approach, just say, "I will do whatever my management team instructs me to do." Remember: It's not your project, it's the company's. Just be calm and agreeable. Don't work above your role. You won't have any cover. – Wesley Long Nov 3 '19 at 20:01
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    Regardless of whether you have influence, or whether they would switch to depending on A rather than hiring a replacement for you, your position in the meeting should be as @WesleyLong recommends. The relationship between the divisions is a matter the managers should sort out. – Patricia Shanahan Nov 4 '19 at 15:25

How can I push back my rival's request for full access to my work (projects and customers) while maintaining good relationships with the other division, avoiding demolishing that person?

You can point out the reasons why this full access would be bad for the company. I'm not sure what those reasons would be, but hopefully you have some insight that is real and actually negative other than your fear of a rival.

Be careful with your language when discussing this with senior management. You could easily ruin your argument if you bring up terms like "demolish", "twist my statements", "make me look like a fool", etc.

You might want to write down your thoughts and even practice saying them out loud. You don't want to make the discussion personal and you don't want to come across as paranoid. You want the discussion to be about what is best for the company, not just what is best for you.


This should be a meeting between managers, or even between the division management and the level above them. Division B wants to keep the work separate. Division A doesn't want that. Prior to the meeting between the divisions the management of division B should meet with you to understand the issues so they can plan how they will approach the meeting.

In my experience workers are not at these types of meetings, the decisions and issues that need to be worked out need to be done out of the view of the people at the lower levels.

This should be a management only meeting because it goes beyond just technology X, it also goes to the overall relationship between the divisions. That may mean that technology X may only be a small part of the meeting.

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    This. Dysfunction between two divisions, neither of which the OP leads, need to be hashed out by their respective managers. – anonymous Nov 4 '19 at 13:09
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    The OP can try to get this going by talking to their own management about the lack of an agreed vision between the divisions on how X should be managed. – Patricia Shanahan Nov 4 '19 at 13:42

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