The purpose of your contracts is to help you do business or – as Jacqueline Horani said at the World Commerce and Contracting Vibe Summit 2023 – to help ‘both sides of the agreement to achieve and fulfil their goals.’
Tools for Loving Customers
As a trainer, I learnt long ago that businesses need more than just simple and effective contract content (ie content that they can read, understand and use). Since 25% of your staff are using your contracts, they can’t just be about legal stuff! 😉
I have always talked to my clients about how they use that content – on their website, in proposals and to complete a deal. My new keynote focuses on three critical elements of contracting: branding, content and process; so I loved hearing Jacqueline talk about her ‘wheel of interdisciplinary consulting’. This has 11 different aspects that you need to consider when improving your contracting. Her wheel looks at:
- The customer journey ie how do clients end up hiring your company and what happens after that? [operations]
- Whether your values are reflected in your contracting or customer sales experience [culture]
- How the process affects your staff ie those who provide the scope [human resources] and everyone – both internal and external – using the contract [UX]
- Does the contract work seamlessly to communicate with customers and align with your other documents? [communications]
- Is your contract effective also for creating success and reinforcing your brand? [risk management, social impact, PR]
Your contract can become an asset for you to share widely, for you to get excited about, that feels amazing and different in your industry, according to Jacqueline.
This more holistic approach means we are trying to integrate the human side of business into our legal documents. For example, instead of focusing on big disputes, we should be considering the friction (what Jacqueline calls ‘small preventable tensions’) that damage the commercial relationships.
Why do we need to focus on relationships in contracts? Emma (one of my associates and twin sister) explains what she learnt when puppy training that’s relevant to contracts.