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Demand What You’re Worth? A Lesson in the Value of Collective Contributions

Demand What You’re Worth? A Lesson in the Value of Collective Contributions

I once worked with a vendor that embraced the precept, “Demand What You’re Worth!”

It sounded reasonable and honorable – who wouldn’t want to be paid what they feel they are worth?

After I worked with the vendor, however, I realized there is a downside to this way of thinking – the potential failure to realize the worth of the contribution of all the other parties involved and their investment and stake in the project.

During initial negotiations, the vendor demanded a high value based on their promise of what they could deliver, which I readily agreed to since it sounded exactly what was needed, even though it meant my company at that time would take a smaller cut than usual. Unfortunately, I eventually learned the vendor didn’t fully deliver on their assurance of quality and my company ended up looking less than stellar in the eyes of the third party that hired us to provide them with a worthwhile service. Upon completion of the project, I was left with zero profit because I needed to significantly discount the service to appease the third party.

For months afterward I was left with the repeated thought, what about the worth of my own company’s contributions? What about the value of my part in the deal? Why wasn’t this even a consideration from the start? It appeared one-sided with no consideration by the vendor for how the others involved in the transaction, especially including the third party, could also benefit and be uplifted by the experience.

But now, looking back, I realize the onus was on me. I missed the opportunity to say to the vendor, what about my worth and the investment in my company that made this opportunity possible? I take full responsibility for not factoring that into the equation when deciding the scale of compensation. I now also know to carefully weigh the value of contributions and investments of each and every party involved.

It ended up being a valuable learning lesson in remembering to acknowledge not just my own worth, but the group’s collective worth and ensuring as best as possible that each side walks away feeling the collaborative efforts were all worth it.

Linda Guyette
Linda Guyette has more than 25 years of experience in the professional skills training and consulting industry, providing marketing and client account management for the training experts she represents. She has a 20+ year background in online marketing, content development, and learning management system implementation. Linda was part of the Denver-based team that executed and managed IBM's nationwide Leadership Excellence Series for more than 12 years.

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