I agree that simplification is the only way to go. More and more companies are realising the benefits of reducing sales cycles, negotiation times etc together with ease of understanding of contracts by key stakeholders and customers.
I agree that too much emphasis is often placed on covering off risk when a certain amount of risk is an element of all contracts. Managing that risk in an intelligent manner is key and part of that management is using the right contract terms for the relevant offering. IACCM's VCU Framework will help companies to manage uncertainty through contracts.
We would welcome the opportunity to explain the benefits of contract simplification and design together with the VCU Framework to your senior business and legal teams. Please reach out to me personally if you would like to discuss. My email is pdoyle@IACCM.com
VP and Global Head of Research and Analytics
Thank you for your comment and yes there is signficant research and resounding evidence to confirm that visuals can support clarity and understanding in contracts - no matter which element of the contract. And yes we would deem it perfectly acceptable to have graphics in certain sections - not all. There are some elements of the contract that lend themselves to visualization more than others. There is a lot of material in our Resource Library on this topic and this particular piece of research should help you too:
my suggestion would be to have editable "visual templates" (e.g. in PowerPoint) in use already during negotiation. Depending on the topic, they could be owned by business or legal negotiators. You can use these in presentations and outside of contract documents to facilitate reaching the meeting of the minds about key topics for your relationship/transaction, and modify them collaboratively with the client. At the end, you just add the static version of the diagram (exported e.g. as jpg or png) to the contract, like a snapshop documenting what was agreed together.
In order to minimize effort, create negotiable visualizations only for topics that are crucial and would actually benefit from increased clarity and shared understanding.
If you want an example of such a use case, you may want to have a look at this article that appeared on JSCAN (it is part of your IACCM Membership): journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2055563616669739
Let me know if this helps, and feel free to reach out again!
• Passera Design
just wondering if you would be willing and able to submit your example on the IACCM Contract Design Pattern Library (even in a partial/edited/anonymized form if you so wish). We have a section on timelines, and your example would be in good company: contract-design.iaccm.com/timeline
Submissions can be made here: contract-design.iaccm.com/contribute
I am available for any question regarding the submission and publishing process. :)
• Novo Nordisk
Thanks Stefania, very practical suggestion! I found the article and look forward to reading it.
You should contact Rob Waller, he did some great work for us in this vein as well as simplifying complex contract legal language for use in Term Contracts or MSA's.
• Health Quest
Thank you, Gary, will do! I did check out the link you provided and definitely liked what I saw. It is exciting to know that there are folks out there who believe in revamping and freshening up the way we do business on paper.
Indeed. For example, there are consultants and researchers working on Contract visualizations. I happened to work on such developments for our company, and found it useful in governing the contractual activities of large and complex infrastructure proejcts.
Hi Peter - I think this is a useful survey to capture the views of people. From across the other side of the world, the two that resonate significantly with me are very similar to this list, with I think defining value right near the top.
I think the easiest thing for people to measure their success used to be cost reduction. But I think that mindset is a long way from the current movement of being strategic, and running perhaps even against the push towards social or environmental outcomes.
Without an easy measure, from my perspective, the best way to measure success is the feedback from your end users which includes suppliers. Did they understand the process, did it work for them, and post contracting, are they happy ? Sure, it gives people less ability to compare across organisations, but I think it's that competition, rather than co-operation, that sometimes stops us from achieving better outcomes.
• Simoons & Company
From a customer-supplier perspective I agree with your observation that cost reduction has most often been the measure of success. However cost reduction on that side often leads to rising hidden costs elsewhere in the organization. In strategic partnerships we not only look at value, but also at the full relationship to measure success. To do so we interview, and/or survey, stakeholders at both sides.
Most important element of measuring success however, is not the measurement itself, but the action plan connected to it to improve the elements that lag behind.