Contracting Excellence Journal

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In contracts about complicated services, the hardest terms to draft appear in statements of work. SoWs for large projects demand long lists of duties from the vendor. And usually they’re interwoven with supporting tasks from the customer and its other suppliers, along with countless contingencies, assumptions, and exceptions. Putting all those pieces into an effective contract challenges the best drafters. The result is often hundreds of pages of baffling mess. Yet the path to good drafting is simple: write outcome-driven descriptions. In other words, describe the technology the vendor will create or run or both, and then stop typing.

contracting excellence contract management communication

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We all negotiate throughout our lives. In fact, it’s often hard to get through a day without haggling over a price, discussing the terms of a job offer with an employer, asking for a pay raise from our superior, persuading our colleagues to support a new business proposal…and so on.  

contracting excellence performance management contract management communication

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A survey conducted by the International Association of Contract and Commercial Management (IACCM) shows that only 1 of 10 agreed that contracts are "easy to understand".  And only 17% were satisfied with the agreement process. These numbers are miserable.  Why is it so, what are the consequences, and what can we do about it?

contract /commercial management contracting excellence organization & people contract management communication

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Please note that this article is based upon an analysis of English case law.

contract management communication

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I just spent over 6 months on and off negotiating a new liability cap into an existing contract for one of our clients -- countless meetings, reports, presentations, approvals and so forth.  Now the ink is dry, and I’d be amazed if we ever talk about it again during the remaining term of the contract.  

contract management communication

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I started my hashtag #strongertogether in 2018 - well I have to admit I “adopted” it because needless to say (and at the time unbeknownst to me) it already existed elsewhere in many different contexts, particularly around areas such as sport and broader diversity issues. I’m certainly not precious or territorial about its use. Indeed, it is heartening to see so many people and organizations recognising the strength that comes from collaboration, from working together to achieve a common goal.

strongertogether

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You want your contracts to deliver value to your business, right? Who wouldn’t?  But do you know how many contract and commercial professionals fail to realize that collaboration with suppliers is essential?  The first priority is to plan specific strategic sourcing strategies to figure out what we will do ourselves and what we want from suppliers.    

contracting excellence contract management communication

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Without a doubt, contracts are the most important risk avoidance management and mitigation tools organizations sign. Ironically, many top executives know little about contracts and how they work to support the organization’s goals. Instead, many choose to delegate the responsibility for identifying and managing those risks to others often with few, if any, questions asked.

contract /commercial management risk management contract management

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Since the dawn of time, mankind has used myths to make sense of the uncertainty that surrounds us. More recently myths have crept into risk management and business projects. Although risk myths have some basis in truth, they fail to accurately represent reality. Here are top ten risk myths and counterpoint rationale showing how to counter the myths.

contract /commercial management contracting excellence communication

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Let’s say you missed a delivery deadline, or an early settlement discount, or an opportunity for a bonus – all of which were specified in the contract.  Any of these errors could hurt the bottom line in business.  Could you justify leaving money on the table, because someone in the organization was not aware of a contract clause?   Of course not!

contract /commercial management

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