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Contracting: A Necessary Evil or a Competitive Weapon?

February 3, 2016

Unless you happen to be an expert, most people would probably vote that contracts are a ‘necessary evil’. If it were an option, there is a chance that they would be outvoted by those who selected ‘unnecessary evil’. Only an enlightened few are likely to choose ‘a competitive weapon’.

Personally, I would want to vote for ‘a competitive asset’ – but I recognize that in most cases, this is wishful thinking.

Contracts – and the contracting process – tend to be seen as instruments for bureaucratic control. There is a celebration when they are signed – partly because they represent an important milestone for the business, partly due to the relief that they are now out of the way.

And ‘out of the way’ is far too often the truth. They are shuffled into a filing cabinet – real or virtual – and emerge only when there are real problems, when the relationship is in trouble. They are a safeguard, a method of risk allocation, a stick to beat the other side.

That, at least, is the view of the ‘necessary evil’ party.

What an opportunity such an attitude is missing! The contracting process represents a chance to ensure common goals, to test whether parties can work together, to build quality and commitment into their relationship. In short, it is the means through which we can safeguard delivery of successful results. Better contracts and better contracting processes are indeed a source of competitive advantage.

And if you don’t believe me, or want to learn more about how to transform your contracts, your contracting process and your value to the business, join our two part webinar series, in which Dalip Raheja and I will take you on a thought-leadership journey. Part one – “The Why – Contracting Must Change and What will Happen if We Don’t?” is on February 24th and you can register at

And we will start with a poll to discover how you feel about the contribution of contracts today – and finish with a poll to check that these webinars have provided insight to a new way forward!



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