The Importance of Integrity in Contract Management

Integrity in business is a more complex topic than it might at first appear. Integrity could be summed as a list of “Don’ts”: don’t lie, don’t mislead, don’t conceal, don’t steal, don’t break professional ethics codes, and so on. Seen in this way, integrity in business is simply about doing the right thing — as individuals and enterprises.

But there’s another perspective — integrity is also integrally tied to business success. There are of course exceptions — many of which get highly publicized — but generally speaking, the way to get ahead in business, as an individual and an organization, is through integrity.

Having integrity leads to trust, which leads to personal lasting, profitable relationships. Enterprises that have integrity get repeat business and favorable supplier contract terms. Individuals with integrity will find that the trust they earn will open up many opportunities. Conversely, without integrity, a person or enterprise won’t be able to build the sustainable business relationships that are essential to long-term success.

So integrity isn’t just a moral issue — it’s also a practical one.

Corporate Integrity

Another reason that integrity in business isn’t as simple as “do the right thing” is that even if everyone in an enterprise conducts themselves ethically, the enterprise can still lack integrity. If an enterprise’s business systems are unreliable, disorganized, and inefficient, then that enterprise doesn’t have integrity. These insufficient systems lead to unfulfilled promises, unmet expectations, poor service, and inadequate communication with business partners and employees. That’s a recipe for failure.

Integrity in Contract Management

Nowhere is the importance of integrity more evident than in contract management. Contracts are the foundation for business relationships, and contracting with integrity gives the foundation the solidity it needs to support the development of many mutually beneficial relationships.

This contract management integrity begins with personal integrity by all people involved in the process. “After all, if a person cannot be trusted in the simplest matters of honesty then how can they possibly be trusted to uphold lengthy and complex business contracts?” Amy Rees Anderson pointedly asks in her recent article on the Forbes website, Success Will Come and Go, But Integrity is Forever.

But contract management integrity also involves corporate-level planning and execution — the best of intentions aren’t good enough. This is where enterprise contract management software can provide essential support. With contract management software, milestone dates aren’t missed, reminders are sent, shipping is coordinated, information is accurate, and legal compliance isn’t compromised. And those are just some of the many ways that contract management software can improve an organization’s trustworthiness.

Integrity With Employees

The efficiencies and accuracy of enterprise contract management software don’t just build trust in vendors and suppliers — they also build trust in employees, which can have a significant impact on morale and productivity.  Like business partners, employees also respond more favorably when an organization demonstrates integrity.

For example, a salesperson who can’t rely on his enterprise’s business processes enough to confidently interact with leads is at a disadvantage. “I’ll check on what the contract says back at the office” isn’t good enough in today’s business environment, where instant communication is expected. This same salesperson, with the support of enterprise contract management software, can immediately get the answer — building the lead’s trust in him and the enterprise. And as the salesperson’s own trust in the integrity of the enterprise’s contract management grows, it’s only natural that he becomes more enthusiastic and comfortable, as well as more attuned to nurturing the lead rather than worrying about tracking down information.

Takeaway

Integrity in enterprise contract management is critical to building long-term, profitable relationships with partners and employees.