Manage through people, not contracts.

Contracts are the point of last resort, they define the exit, should it become necessary.

Believing a written contract that details how the dynamics of an evolving relationship will be managed is as dumb as believing  the lady in the tent can tell the future with any accuracy.

Relationships are about leadership, collaboration, honesty, and a mutual respect, and a reversion to the clauses in a contract are a clear pointer to the failure of the relationship and the leadership. 

A while ago, a business I have had intermittent contact with over a long period set about outsourcing their IT function. It is only a modest business, short of resources, and took the view that the IT people were the experts, and that they should know all there was to know about how to approach their problems, and that the resources freed up could be better used elsewhere. Problem was, they had not adequately defined their processes and expectations, and the vendor saw it as a small sale, perhaps not worth their best efforts.

There were some tough lessons in the exercise, and at their most basic broke down to the simple fact that nobody could know their business as well as they did, and a generic set of solutions sold to a modest business were never going to be successful.

The vendor failed in their duty to meet their needs, once the sales contract was signed, they “moved on” and the company failed badly in the implementation, and the whole exercise ended very badly.

The simple fact is that the “solution” could have, and should have worked, the company’s logic was sound, and the solution had all the fundamentals to deliver a great service, but the relationship failed.  Rather than leveraging the skills and experience of both parties to arrive at a successful outcome, they took the easy way out and just fought over who would carry the can. Really dumb!

About strategyaudit

StrategyAudit is a boutique strategy and marketing consultancy concentrating on the challenges of the medium sized manufacturing businesses that make up the backbone of our economy. The particular focus is on their strategic and marketing development. as well as the business and operational efficiency improvements necessary for day to day commercial survival. We not only give advice, we go down "into the weeds" to ensure and enable implementation.
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