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What Is Holding Us Back?

In truth, most corporations continue to issue very mixed messages. They declare a strategic intent to differentiate, to partner, to add value. But at the same time, they send internal messages about control, cost reduction, standardization and risk avoidance. They highlight the need to be flexible, adaptive and agile, yet they introduce software tools and measurement systems that enforce compliance and inhibit change. And in their trading relationships, they offer the promise of a match made in heaven - until they introduce the pre-nuptial agreement and its administrators.

And so we end another year with value-reduction terms heading the list - limitations of liability, levels of indemnity, control of Intellectual Property, rights to terminate, liquidated damages for performance failure …..

The Keys To Collaboration And Value Realization

What changes might we have hoped for? How would the list change if we were indeed moving towards a more collaborative framework for business relationships?

I believe that the discussion would switch to ensuring the methods and mechanisms for building and measuring success. Certainly this would involve topics like service levels (relatively static at #11) because these set agreed parameters for performance. But it should also focus attention on governance topics such as change management (not in the Top 30), business continuity (down from #19 to #22) and project / relationship reviews (also not in the Top 30). The only clause to have made significant progress (from #35 last year to #17 this year) that is arguably part of the 'good governance' portfolio is dispute resolution.

 

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April 2007