I work at a large software enterprise. Multiple orgs, multiple teams, huge hierarchy of managers and managers of managers.
I am a fairly senior individual contributor with more than a decade of experience, and I think I am good, and have fairly deep knowledge in my area of expertise.
Recently during a one on one with my manager, i asked him what I could do to get promoted. My manager said that I am doing well in the team that I have been assigned to, even identifying and taking on problems that nobody thought about, coming up with new ideas, new solutions to improve things, cut costs etc. But, in order to get promoted faster, I should show cross organizational leadership and also get good recommendations from teams that I do not work with.
He pointed out to me that a team adjacent to ours is facing problems in what happens to be my area of expertise, and I should go talk to them and help them out.
So I go and talk to the members of the other team. Once I know about their problems, a couple of things become obvious to me:
They are doing it wrong. Now, I am not the world's foremost expert in the area of my expertise but I am fairly good. And, to check my biases, I described their problem and their approach, to my peers outside my organization and they agreed with me.
There is an easier way to fix their problems. I am fairly sure I can whip up a prototype over a week or two, and make it production ready over a 2 or 3 months, with a little co-operation from the other team. Again, to check my biases, I talked to my friends and peers outside the company and they seem to agree with me.
The other team members are far too deep into their way of thinking, and have invested close to two years in trying to make their approach work. They haven't made it work so far and given the way they are going, I have serious doubts they will, even if they take another six months or so.
They get super defensive when questioned about their tech choices, and become tense, curt and even passive aggressive. At this point they are far too invested into this solution and there is too much sunk cost. They will pursue their solution come what may, because they are also hoping for career progression based on their work in that area.
What do I do in this scenario? I don't think doing nothing is an option because my manager will count that against me and use that as a data point against promoting me.
I can spend some of my personal time, rapidly prototype the solution, and demonstrate that it works, but this can backfire against me in a couple of ways:
By doing so, I will have just demonstrated my individual contributor skills and nothing more. I don't need to demonstrate that, and I am already at a level where such skillset is expected of me. Best case scenario, they will give me one off some quarterly award that means nothing in the long term.
The other team will not like it one bit. They will try to poke holes in my solution and even if I am confident of defending my solution, it will be a long drawn out and will take too much of my time and will have little chance of succeeding and will eventually lead to nowhere.
How do I approach this situation? How do I demonstrate technical leadership and conflict resolution skills in a way that will help the other team and also make me look good and take me closer to a promotion?