It might surprise some of my readers to know that, as a child, I was very trusting, actually downright gullible. My older brother could get me to do anything, because I loved and trusted him. This love and trust often had me eating dog food or screaming and running in terror as firecrackers exploded inside pantyhose egg shells. Many a birthday party was marred by cries when he’d pop balloons with a fork. Luckily, I had such curly hair that my mother kept it short (I cried when she tried to get a brush through it) and didn’t suffer my little sister’s torment. He used to suck the ribbons out her hair with the vacuum cleaner.
Despite those childhood pranks and antics, I’m still someone who wants to see the good in others. Don’t let my snarky writing style fool you. I go into each collaborative effort believing that all parties involved are going to give it their all, are going to play by the rules and are going to pay on time.
Sometimes I’m disappointed. But it’s my fault if I don’t put into place the plan, the deal, the contract that outlines how the collaboration will tackle its task.
All Collaborations Require Contracts
This was, far too late into my career, a huge lesson learned. In fact, I’m still learning my lesson.
Even if no money is changing hands, even if the collaboration is based on a hobby, a contract between participating parties must be agreed upon and enforced.
This ABSOLUTELY holds true when you’re working with friends and family. Creating a contract can keep the project on target and keep all parties on task which can help keep any hurt feelings from damaging the relationship.
Dial In The Details
In order for the collaborative effort to make the most of its opportunities, some details must be nailed down from the get go.
You have to sort out who’s in charge. You can’t all be the boss. Someone has to be the taskmaster when tasks go off on a tangent. Whoever you put in charge has to have the authority to cease activities that could damage the collaborative effort.
Who’s shelling out the money? Invariably, there are costs attached to any collaborative project, even those that aren’t intended to make any return on investment. The collaborator who shells out the money should be compensated in some way. Only a contract can keep this on track and keep feelings from being bruised.
Deadlines are daunting in any project. They can derail a collaboration completely if they aren’t adhered to properly. One missed deadline often sets off a domino effect putting future deadlines, and the project in general, in jeopardy.
Moving On To Money Matters
Even projects where money changes hands are collaborative efforts.
These projects still require the set-up of timelines, deadlines, task lists, etc. The exchange of dollars is, of course the end goal for the one receiving those dollars, while the end goal of the other party is a stellar design or other product or service.
Without a document that details the to-dos, the due dates and the expectations, any project can derail and cause missed launch dates, increased costs and lack of customer satisfaction. No one likes to hand over money after a less than positive experience!
At the same time, money can cause issues when you’re dealing with friends or family. A contract keeps all parties safe. Someone gets paid and no one gets their feelings hurt, making it difficult to hang out around the dinner table!
Contracts Help Keep It Cool!
Contracts, when you get down to it, provide a roadmap for a project. They effectively lay out expectations, deadlines, to-dos and anything else pertinent to project completion.
They also help keep all parties involved in your collaboration happy and keep the collaboration healthy!