do work ultimatums work?
February 27, 2015 3:36 PM   Subscribe

I'm not bothered by my company reading my emails, looking at my browser history (mostly), or monitoring my phone calls. I just cannot stand their slowness in implementing the CRM they promise. My job is very secure because I have a technical writing skill the group lacks and would be very expensive to replace. Do ultimatums work?

I was brought into the company six months ago to start the road into account management and to manage a sales process that is entirely dependent on having a CRM. I subsequently managed a bid and now manage the bid process for the company, which is also dependent on a CRM. I have what is in effect a very expensive copy of Raiser's Edge circa 2005. At the moment, all information on the CRM has to be put there by me manually, which takes up a lot of my time. There is an IT person who is supposed to be working on CRM implementation firm wide, but he's on the board and does not respond to anything except virus reports.
I have forgone offers because the job is very close to my home at a time when my family really needs me close. However, I can't go on forever. Is there any use to saying if the CRM is not in the hands of the rest of the sales team in three month's time that I will go? Do ultimatums work? How should I approach this? I know some will say just go, I am rekindling my connections about jobs.
I am not worried about being fired. I have saved money by not needing to drive and okay with working long hours doing almost anything to support my family.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Instead of complaining or threatening to quit, maybe offer to take over the project management for implementing the CRM? A PM doesn't need to be an IT person. And you might be better at it because you are motivated to get it done.
posted by cecic at 3:42 PM on February 27, 2015 [12 favorites]

The only way you are going to get change is if you bring it in the form of a solution, not a complaint. Propose what you want to have happen in the spirit of the work you are going to do to help bring it to fruition. Talk about how much money it is going to save or how much it is going to increase revenue. Believe me, no one is indispensable.
posted by matildaben at 4:02 PM on February 27, 2015 [12 favorites]

Ultimatums do often work, but you have to be prepared when they don't.

You also have to make sure you know what you want.

I once complained about my job and said I needed a more reasonable workload. They offered me a promotion and a $5,000 raise. When nothing except my paycheck changed it took me six months before I realized I hadn't gone in there complaining about money. So make sure you have a clear directive in mind and a clear intent of what you will do if they fail to meet it.

There's nothing worse than making an ultimatum and having them reject it only to decide you don't have the ability to follow through.

I made a second complaint and made a second run at my initial complaint. They didn't tell me there was no way the job was changing, but that became apparent, so I left on the timeline I said I would.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:06 PM on February 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

It does actually require IT participation to implement CRM, especially if you're wanting data integrations. I think you should have a meeting with your higher ups where you bring in a high-level analysis of what needs to happen to finish the implementation, including budget for probably an outside partner to do the technical side, show it to them, and ask if you will be allowed to complete the project if you take over, and here's what you think it will cost.

They will either be all "yeah, you're right" or they will go "well but Jiiiiiimmmmm, we can't bring in anybody elllllllse, waaaaaaaah" and you'll know to start working on your exit strategy.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:07 PM on February 27, 2015

Don't be the guy who makes ultimatums. No one likes that guy.

Sit down with your boss. "As you know (because you've talked about this before, right?), a lot of [specific project that you are on] is impaired by our lack of a modern CRM. When I was hired, the plan for my position was [that thing you can't really do yet]. I still want that to happen. Not having the CRM is a critical roadblock. What can be done to get it resolved? How can I help?"

Come to this with constructive thoughts about how to get what you want. As mentioned above, maybe hiring a contractor is the expedient thing to do. Maybe some of your time can be diverted to helping in whatever way you can. A lot of the time when I was angrily waiting for IT to start caring and fix my problem, they were waiting for me to give them enough details so they could act on my request. Being collaborative helps.

You're part of the team that has a problem. Be part of the team that fixes the problem. Me vs. Them thinking won't make them solve it faster and won't make you happier.

And if they won't work with you, yeah, leave.
posted by katieinshoes at 4:22 PM on February 27, 2015 [6 favorites]

It does actually require IT participation to implement CRM, especially if you're wanting data integrations.

I meant that to be a project manager and get the process moving he doesn't need to be an IT guy, not that he won't need significant IT assistance to complete the project. But if the current project manager is in IT, not in the business unit, and there is no force spurring him along, it can only help to get someone who is invested in the outcome and eager to get it done to take over the project management. IT departments can be awesome, but they aren't going to work on something that no one is actively managing or pushing/paying for. And the OP may get a healthy exposure to how complicated and difficult these systems can be to implement. It may be that work is getting done, but it's not the kind he can see from his vantage point.

Source: I was a non-IT project manager of multi-million dollar CRM installations for years.
posted by cecic at 4:36 PM on February 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

Perhaps I am misreading. It sounded like there was no project manager and the only technical resource is one IT person who is on the board (as in, the Board, that runs the company, and so not an actual employee beholden to anyone) and only responds to virus alerts, not to any other communication regarding IT at this company.

You cannot complete a software implementation with just that person, especially if that person doesn't feel like it, and sometimes you literally cannot proceed because it'll hurt his feelings and so the proposed CRM project remains, forever, the proposed CRM project that never happens. (I also implement software.)
posted by Lyn Never at 4:57 PM on February 27, 2015

Bring the solution be the solution as noted above.

I came in ti a similar position. Six years in its getting done, but we are finally creaking there only because of reasons beyond my control and rhymes with snackquizition.

I just this week went through six years of emails researching info for HQ. We scrapped four sustems in as many years. Sigh.

But that fifteen minute commute has been worth the pay cut the whole time.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 6:51 PM on February 27, 2015

"I have forgone offers because the job is very close to my home at a time when my family really needs me close. However, I can't go on forever."

It's never safe to give an ultimatum unless you've already been offered another job and are presenting the ultimatum more in terms of a counter offer to stay. I've seen ultimatums backfire, leaving the person unemployed with a disgruntled former employer.
posted by 2oh1 at 7:34 PM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Can you demand that they hire a data entry clerk of some sort to input the data? Not the CRM you need, but might free up a bit of your time.
posted by Mistress at 4:47 AM on February 28, 2015

Not the way you're thinking.

If you are really going to leave because you're fucking sick of the situation, and actually making plans to do just that, then you should absolutely say so in more of a FYI sense than as a threat. It might light a fire under them to change your mind.

If you're just saying that for the threatening effect, that is a terrible idea.
posted by ctmf at 11:42 AM on February 28, 2015

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