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A confidential report

August 14, 2014

I thought I would share extracts from an internal company report that I just read. I think it will resonate with many.

“Contract Management and negotiation skills and knowledge are increasingly important. Our need to be more flexible in the market, to accept and manage higher risks, to build new solutions and commitment capabilities, is resulting in many groups within the Corporation developing or negotiating contracts.

We have identified approximately 800 people in more than 20 organizational groups whose primary role is contract development or negotiation. There has been no consistent training to help them perform their task. In addition, there are many more employees with either contract or negotiation skills defined as a component of their job and skill requirements (e.g. Project Managers, Procurement, Sales).

Currently, each group develops its own training materials (if any), typically without reference to any other group. Not only is this inefficient (high cost, limited re-use, frequent redundancy), it also creates process inconsistency and organizational conflict. Groups define overlapping roles, they are unaware of tools or databases developed or used by others, they consider aspects of Corporate practice or policy to be optional. To date, we have identified more than 40 different training programs, delivered by a similar number of providers.

This confusion inevitably spreads to the market, where customers and suppliers suffer from inconsistent approaches to the way our contracts are delivered and negotiated, often encountering more than one group involved in the same bid. This is especially the case in more complex, high value business, which typically requires our organization to provide integrated projects or solutions.

Moving forward, the roll-out of  consistent education and training modules will be critical to competitiveness and customer satisfaction. To ensure simplification and to maintain consistency, these modules must be available to all relevant groups, irrespective of geography or function.”

The report goes on to describe the steps needed to undertake development and ensure adoption ….

All of this may sound very familiar to many of today’s contract and commercial practitioners, who face similar fragmentation in their procedures and authorities.

This report was written 20 years ago, within a Corporation that was a leader in global reengineering of its contracting process. The improvements supported a major turn-round in its market performance, transforming contracts from a liability into an asset, especially in its growing services and solutions business.

Twenty years on, is your organization still struggling to make these changes?

A key reason for IACCM’s existence is to offer this consistency of organizational training, skills development and certification. Visit for details. 


  1. Rosalyn Watson permalink

    I know of one huge international organization that began such a change process at that time. I was happy to lead the group that promulgated the strategy and process that was developed. Once that is accomplished, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open (formal/structured and less than formal) so that editing and other changes can be analyzed by team leaders across disciplines and adopted when needed as part of the practice of continuous improvement.

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