Friday, July 25, 2008

I Do Contracts

For the first time in months, I got to negotiate a complex contract today and to use my outstanding, if I say so myself, and I do, negotiating skills. It helped that I had been working on it for weeks passing redlines back and forth, so I was fully versed in all the open issues and ready to problem solve. We had the principal business people involved in the transaction on the line and the two in house lawyers, so everybody who needed to be consulted was involved. And, joy of joys, all four of us were reasonably skilled, and we ironed everything out in a half hour. It really felt good to get back in the saddle.

It's not that I haven't been negotiating. It's just that it has involved passing redlined documents back and forth with little other communication and little chance to get involved with problem solving. And I've been involved in settlement negotiations in litigation, something which is not nearly as fun as hammering out a business deal.

The usual model in a lot of companies seems to be to have the business people work out a contract. Then they run it by legal, and the lawyers try to foul up the deal, or at a minimum delay everything intolerably. The earlier I get involved the better, say I, I'm there to help, not to queer the deal. The more I know about what's going on from a business perspective, the more I can help the business people. I'm really good at this, and I want to make it work for the company. I add value.

That's my mission statement. I add value to the organization by bringing my negotiating and conflict management skills to bear on business relationships and by making risk manageable.

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