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Who places value on your contracts?

April 21, 2016

Do people in your business take contracts and contract management seriously enough?

For most of us, the answer is no. The contract document and the process through which they are designed, implemented and managed is too complicated. Roles, responsibilities, authority, accountability – they are often unclear. This generates a level of frustration and management often seems uninterested in addressing the problem. As a result, contract users may see the contract itself as having limited purpose.

Such an attitude is a big mistake – and contributes to poor performance. Contracts should provide a mechanism and expression for unifying participants. They are a coming together of needs, capabilities and interests – a meeting of minds. The process through which they are established is itself a negotiation, internal and external, to align interests.

At least, that’s the theory.

But in reality, key participants are disengaged, they feel alienated from contracting because it seems irrelevant or – even worse – a barrier to getting things done. Among these key participants are the users – the people who need it to guide or control activities or to ensure benefits or obligations are delivered.

We must ask ourselves why companies like Apple are so successful? A major factor is because its products focus on users, because they are easy to access and use, because they complement their lives.

Can you say the same about your contracts?

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