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Timing: Key To Value

January 25, 2012
Contracts professionals are really frustrated by all the panic calls from the business for a contract, a review, negotiation support. ‘Why didn’t they involve us earlier?’ is the cry. ‘I could have given so much value if they had told me sooner’.
First, that complaint is probably valid. We have plenty of evidence that outcomes are improved as a result of better planning and earlier involvement of the right people, with the right knowledge or skills. But why is it that they don’t involve us? Does the fact that these panic calls occur indicate that they really didn’t think of us, or that they failed to realise the need, or just they couldn’t be bothered to follow the process and work to a plan?
Before we complain too loudly, perhaps we need to look at own behavior. If we are so vexed by the tendency to involve us late, how come we behave the same way? When we need support, data, research – why does it seem to be that we never have that need as part of a project plan? Did we miss it, forget about it, or perhaps never have a plan in the first place?
In many areas of our work, research should be a fundamental component, to validate our actions or our conclusions. Research the customer or the supplier. Research our past activity. Research the competition. Research benchmarks or comparisons. But in general, it isn’t embedded into our plan. This is especially true on the sell-side of the house. We either fly by the seat of our pants and rely on our abilities at guesswork, or we leave it to the last minute and make our emergency someone else’s crisis.
Why do I know this? Because that panic call for data is often made to IACCM. And it frequently leads us to say “if only they had involved us earlier …..”
One Comment
  1. This is so true. The crazy thing is, this exactly the same issue other “support” type services have eg: Logistics and HR.

    If all functions of the business were invited to be involved and made themselves available, a lot of potential problems could be identified earlier, so don’t become actual problems.

    I believe this is an area of opportunity where companies can make an improvement at minimal cost: getting everyone around the table to discuss. Maybe not at every meeting but at least the early ones – firstly to get buy-in and secondly to help steer the project and identify potential pot-holes.

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