(Originally published July 30, 2008)
OK, yes, I've been spending too much time in retro coffee shops listening to Paul Simon lyrics.
This one got me thinking, though, about the two (or more) sides to everything we do in contracts.
Unlike "pure" legal situations, there is a business opportunity aspect to the contracts process that attracts some, and repels others. People in the profession who hustle, and can see the upside to any situation, tend to do best working in sales support organizations for senior sales executives. Those who can see the downside to everything tend to do well in sales support, but working for the CFO or General Counsel.
Upside = Reward
Downside = Risk
Ceiling, Floor. One party's reasonable indemnification is another party's intolerable risk.
Contracts is where the twain meet, and worse, where everything is written down, signed, and becomes legally binding. No more room for spin, so marketing professionals tend to see contracts as their evil, dark side (oh, and the feeling is mutual...)
People with an entrepreneurial bent often struggle in contracts, until they start to see themselves as master deal-makers. Unfortunately, you have to slog through a couple of decades pushing paper before you have the gravitas to do big deals, unless you pick a part of the organization where deal-making and hustle are rewarded.
Let's talk about those next time...
- Stephen Sopko