A single person may change the fate of whole operation in an organization. When you are doing your SuperImportantEnormous project in a big organization there will always be a cranky person you can’t satisfy. At first you try to ignore Jeff the Cranky. But he doesn’t like to be ignored. He starts to talk how inadequate, insufficient, inexperienced, careless -insert a negative adjective here- you or your team are. It becomes obvious that ignoring Jeff won’t work.
Ignoring may not work
He isn’t a level 1 cranky. You update your strategy to cope with a level 2 cranky. You try to establish a good communication with him. You hold a meeting to clear the air, show your respect, get feedback from him on the issues he is annoyed. Of course the issues would be tiny, unimportant, maybe non-existent. Although at first this approach seems working soon you will discover that Jeff the Cranky is talking nonstop. You waved the white flag but it provoked him. He feels he is in charge now. Jeff the Cranky is level 3.
Peace negotiations may not work
Now, you are officially in war with Jeff. There is no turning back from this point, either you crash him (harder than you think) or you put him out of action. To crash him, you complain to his superiors about him with undeniable proof (email records, meeting notes, bringing his colleagues as witnesses). If It works he backs off. If this does not work, or you certainly sure that it won’t work, then you move to plan b. You try to show everybody how baseless his claims are in every occasion. At the end, he sees that nobody cares him, so he retreats to his corner and waits for his next prey.
If you fail to eliminate Jeff the Cranky, your project fails, even you successfully finish the project he makes your life hell during that period.