by Jennie Vickers

‘See others through a lens, not a label’

Oct 15, 2015
CareersCollaboration SoftwareInnovation

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Co-Author of Innovation Governance and New Product Development for Dummies, Beebe Nelson of Working Forums LLC, recently presented at the IACCM Americas Forum in Nevada on the impact of personality styles on contracting and contracts.

While I am a long term big fan of the importance of understanding other people’s preferences in communications, I had never applied that lens to understand or anticipate the way others react to contract terms and contract negotiation processes. Outrage at a contract approach we thought innocuous, happens more often that we realise.

Nelson has spent many years in, and working with, the tech sector and has developed methodologies based on long established personality typing tools, to help sales team better anticipate the reaction of different people in different functions and in different cultures, to their contracts and contracting processes.

Nelson’s hot top tips include:

  • Accept that we are all different but it is in predictable ways. Introverts will tend to focus on the deal end point and the extroverts will be open to changes in process or even end point;
  • If your negotiating counterparty seems to have weird thinking or an odd approach they may in fact have insights which are valuable to you but unseen by you;
  • Beware of the limitations of your own way of thinking and seize the opportunity to build on the insights of others;
  • Cross functional collaboration is only going to happen when we step out of our own constructs and into those of others.

Final advice from Nelson is, “if you don’t know what the extrovert thinks, you’re not listening; and if you don’t know what the introvert thinks, you’re not asking.”

Time spent on this important skill of seeing others through “a lens and not by a label” can shorten negotiation timetables and increase the number of IT contracts finalised before that critical month end, quarter end or year end.

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Jennie Vickers is ANZ director for the International Association for Commercial Contract Management. Reach her at