During the Holiday Seasons, I find it a great opportunity to reflect and renew. Taking a little time to ponder life and if our lives are moving in the direction we would like is always a good practice.
This year, I want to share lessons that have come to me as a result of some real life experiences over my lifetime. I hope you find them beneficial.
All of us are engaged in contractual relationships. Work, marriage, investments, you name it. We normally review the contracts, agree to abide by their guidelines, sign them, and simply honor the agreements to the best of our ability. I was reminded recently that one reason we have lawyers and courts is because two sides often believe their cause is just, and even though there are contracts in place, the intent of them varies so widely that lawyers end up fighting to determine whose interpretation is most correct. Pretty sad really, so I have come up with a pattern to determine the right course of action BEFORE entering an agreement.
- Do you know the party well enough to know their integrity? I have written before about Jon Huntsman from his book, Winners Never Cheat, wherein he gave up millions of dollars he could have laid claim to but didn’t because he made a promise. Money never did trump integrity in his case, and it’s a good principle to live by. Obtaining this knowledge before entering an agreement is not easy; but extreme due diligence would be worth the time.
- Have they broken promises before or tried to re-write history after the agreements are signed? Ask for references of their prior parties in similar agreements and give them a ring.
- What does your gut say in their presence? Are you a little weirded out by their mannerisms? Without judging them for their uniqueness, how do you feel in their presence? Are they real or do they live in their own glass castle?
- What type of people do they surround themselves with? Do they bow obeisance to the “king” or do they clearly demonstrate loyalty out of respect and not coercion? Usually open dialogue and laughter accompany this group in the presence of the leader IF they are comfortable and secure. This will speak volumes, so observe carefully.
- All agreements aside, would you want to just sit down and have a soda with them and talk openly about anything that comes to mind? Or do you find yourself guarded because of an uneasy and unspoken vibe that screams distrust?
- What assurance do you have, that if there were a misunderstanding, that they would be as upset at such an event as you; and could thus resolve the differences in a manner that rises above manipulation, greed, and power? A good question might be “have you ever been involved with a contractual misunderstanding that was resolved to the satisfaction of both parties? Would you mind if I spoke to the other party about it?
I know that these guidelines and questions are very difficult to ascertain in the sometimes limited exposure you might have in performing your due diligence, but if they are on your mind in the process, perhaps you can make great decisions that will bless and not distract, build and not demean, bring peace and not division.
I hope that in 2015, the decisions we make will begin with the end in mind, and will bring long-lasting peace and prosperity to everyone.