It’s Time to Talk Turkey About Your Contracts

By Karen Howe

Risk. Obligation. Deadlines. Compliance. Collaboration. Flexibility. Visibility. Access. Governance. Data-driven insights.

These terms and many like them appear regularly in our company literature, including these blogs. They describe challenges and opportunities related to adopting contract lifecycle management software. As a trainer and member of the Customer Success team, I strive to help customers make connections between seemingly disparate terms such as these, connecting the dots, so to speak, to form a whole picture.

But as I pondered this cornucopia of ideas, my mind started to wander. Filled with visions of turkey, pumpkin pie, and friends and family sitting around the Thanksgiving dinner table, I began to research the holiday.

thanksgiving and contract managementEarly Observances

In Wikipedia I learned that in 1619, 38 English settlers arrived in Virginia with a charter from their sponsor, The London Company, which was a form of (aha – a connection between Thanksgiving and contract management) legal contract.  The charter directed the settlers “that the day of our ship’s arrival at the place assigned for plantation in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God.”

But then again, with Contract Logix being located just an hour or so north of Plymouth, Massachusetts (access) we New Englanders feel more connected to the Pilgrims, whose Mayflower Compact replaced an earlier contract with the Virginia Company and provided a set of self-governance rules for the new colony. The 1621 feast attended by the Pilgrims and local Native American tribes (collaboration) is popularly recognized as the true beginning of the holiday. That meal did not take place in November, though. Which brings me to…

Controversy over Dates

Traditionally observed the last Thursday of the month since the time of Abraham Lincoln, in 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed the next-to-last Thursday as the holiday instead of the last,  hoping to give retailers more time to sell ahead of Christmas and stimulate the nation’s economy which was still feeling the effects of the Depression.  You see, unlike now, back then it was deemed inappropriate that the shopping season should begin before Thanksgiving (don’t get me started!) Arguably a strong leader, FDR may have in this case lacked the data (data-driven insights) to support this theory. It was later reported that the economic stimulus idea had little positive effect.

What did happen was an immediate outcry about the switch. Some states went along, but many didn’t (compliance) due either to political differences (FDR was a Democrat) or to the hardship of changing cherished traditions (flexibility) like the custom of playing the last football game of the season on that last Thursday of November. No one knew for sure when the holiday should be celebrated (visibility). Finally, the confusion came to a head, and in late 1941 both the House and Senate passed a joint resolution, which Roosevelt signed into law, fixing the date of Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday of November.

Modern Times

Fast forward a few decades. When I was younger, one of the best parts of the holiday for me was watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV, with its giant balloons and Broadway performers. A massive enterprise that takes a tremendous amount of planning, imagine what could go wrong (risk). Runaway balloons. Drunken Santas. Or worse – what if the coordinator in charge of filing permits with the city on use of the streets missed the deadline?

And today, well the meal itself entails significant risks (overcooked or undercooked turkey, lumpy gravy, bland stuffing); attention to process (how will I get all the dishes cooked and on the table at the same time?) and the obligation to provide a tasty and satisfying dinner for all.

But let me leave this history lesson for now, circle back to contract management and connect a few dots.

Takeaway: What Contract Logix Brings to the Table

Contract lifecycle management systems like the one offered by Contract Logix help businesses by:

  • Providing the flexibility to manage contracts the way they want to
  • Reducing risk, managing obligations, and making sure they never miss a deadline with automated alerts
  • Ensuring everyone is on the same page by providing visibility into the agreements, organizations, contacts and documents stored in their secure central contract repository
  • Enabling them to manage their contract processes with automated workflows
  • Helping them make better decisions through our unique approach to data management

To learn more, click here to schedule a demo of our contract management solution. And have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Jim Averill and Dave Gott contributed to this blog post.