Contract Disputes Can be Avoided: It’s All About Communication

Contract disputes are a part of the contract process — it just seems to happen and be a part of the process.  The parties involved shake their heads in wonderment while questioning how the dispute began in the first place.  Before you know it people are assigning blame, lots of fingers are being pointed, voices are rising, and tempers are flaring and fear is growing that the contract will be lost for not meeting the contracts agreed terms.   This type of stress can quickly hamper the progress or corrective actions needed to be done by the company to get back on the right track and thus, must be avoided.

However, these issues can be avoided from the get go if you simply think aloud.  Understand, that the underlying factor effecting contract disputes is the lack of balanced, equal, and exact communication.  In fact, these are the problems in all communications.  It doesn’t matter if it is your personal or professional life or between you or your spouse the underlying problem is the lack of balanced, equal, and exact communication.  If, the underlying issues of communication are addressed, shared, and understood by all involved parties fallouts can be negotiated towards success.  This is especially true when it comes to dealing with contracts; nothing is more important for success than a smooth business arrangement that builds reputations and business decorum.  So, what is exactly meant by balanced, equal, and exact communication?

Balanced communication refers to all parties communicating is such a manner that each is able to speak and listen equally.  If just one party is doing all the speaking and the other is always listening there is no room for questions or verifications of understandings.  There must be a steady flow of speaking and listening between all parties involved.

Equal communication refers to all parties involved in the contract view the other parties as partners and not underlings.  When people speak to one another in a condescending tone and manner, animosity for the individual and the contract grows.  Once animosity develops, it’s almost impossible to achieve balance or equal communication.  In fact, this often leads to contract disputes for no other reason than the inability to get along, when there may be nothing actually to dispute at all.

Finally, exact communication refers to contract parties coming to an understanding of the terms of the contract, particularly in the area of definitions.  Definitions are very important.  It should not be assumed that contract parties have the same understanding of what contract terms, or any other terms, mean equally.  Consideration must be given for those just entering into the discussions, the level of experience each involved has, and what industry sector each involved has.  This level of communication is extremely important and almost impossible to achieve if the aforementioned two are not.

Remember, communication is an active and out loud event.  If discussion, questions, comments, along with being polite, respectful, and open to others, contract disputes will occur repeatedly.  If you find that your company is having such problems with your contracts, you may have to take the time to inventory how your company is communicating during contract communications.  If not, the word will get out and getting a contract will become difficult.