A couple of months ago, I was working with a very senior-level candidate who was seeking her next big challenge.  She had been with her company for more than three years, but over the past year and half, she’d found herself at a professional crossroads. She’d had many open and honest conversations with her managers about what she wanted/needed to ensure a fulfilling career ahead with them. But, as much they appeared to be on-board and supportive of her requests – they never delivered.  So, it was clearly time for her to find a place where she could get what she’s been looking for.  She was eager to find a role that would bring her closer to her ultimate career goals.  Luckily – she had come to the right place.

The opportunity she had been dreaming about was at my fingertips. The more I listened to what she was looking for, the more I knew that her name was written all over it.  And I was right. With each new thing she learned about the role and with each new person she met at the company, she was more and more sure that this was going to be her new home. She was so sure, that she called the company’s HR person directly, and in naive transparency, essentially begged for an offer. She told us that if an offer could be made- there wasn’t anything holding her back from accepting it.  And within a few hours time, a fantastic offer was in her hands.  It was a match made in heaven!  Or so we thought.

Despite all of our best educating, vetting and coaching, 24 hours later, the candidate accepted a counteroffer. The same candidate who told us time and again, that she wanted to leave her company because they never were able to meet any of her requests.  It’s amazing what an ultimatum can do. Fear and panic took hold of her employer, and all of the sudden mountains were moved for her. And although she had fallen out of love with them months before – all of the love came rushing back as they bent over backwards to keep her.  How could she resist.

But, what happens when the high emotion from the ultimatum wears off and reality sets in?  Does everyone really get what they wanted – or thought they wanted? Do things really change all that much? You might have more money, a new title…or even have an old boyfriend/girlfriend back.  But when all of the glitter fades away, is it really gold?

Frankly speaking, it shouldn’t take ultimatums for us to know how much we’re worth in any relationship – professional or personal.  When people and companies value us, we know it. When they don’t, we know that, too.  That’s why we go looking for those who do.  Ultimatums may seem powerful in the moment, but they rarely fill our voids in the long-term.

Most of us have been faced with or used ultimatums in our lives. Should it really take the threat of losing something (or someone) to motivate us or others to go to the ends of the earth to keep it?  And if they decide to give it to us, should we take it?

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312-725-8544   I  Lisa@LBFStrategies.com