A strong contract compliance program will prevent accidental contract breaches. It can save a business tens of thousands of dollars, or more, in penalties and damages. It can also increase profitability by preventing unwanted automatic renewals and improving contract language over time. But, any contract compliance program is only as good as the contract compliance managers you have running it.
When looking to hire a contract compliance manager, you need someone who has more than just contract compliance experience. You need someone with the right mix of soft and hard skills. You need someone you can trust.
Below are the key characteristics you want in your contract compliance manager.
Contract compliance isn’t about pouring over documents and searching for data in a contract management system.
Most of a contract compliance manager’s time is spent communicating with other people both inside and outside of the organization.
You need someone who knows how to convey information efficiently and tactfully. They will need to earn the trust of everyone in the company. They also need to know how to solicit the exact information they need from people in different departments.
Being a great communicator means being able to both write an effective email and being able to pick up the phone and quickly convey key information promptly.
If you contract compliance manager can’t get their point across to the right people, your compliance system will fail.
You want a contract compliance manager who is always searching for issues and who doesn’t need anyone else to point them in the right direction.
Compliance doesn’t work if you wait until there is a crisis to act. Compliance requires a proactive mindset.
Being proactive means pointing out issues to management outside of scheduled meetings and reporting periods. It also means a willingness to dig in and slog through dense documents.
The best contract compliance managers don’t waste time on busywork; they’re too busy zeroing in on the areas where the organization is most vulnerable to accidental breaches.
When it comes to contracts, it’s not just every word that matters. Every comma, colon, and semicolon are also critical to understanding the meaning of a clause.
A great contract compliance manager is detail oriented. They do sweat the small stuff. They make sure that every delivery is made on time, that due dates are never missed, and that the stakeholders know ahead of time when they need to make decisions about the future of a contractual relationship.
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Every organization understands that a contract compliance manager needs to understand how contracts work.
But, the most effective managers also have a deep understanding of the business and the industry. You want a contract compliance manager that understands how everything from supply chain logistics to sales to manufacturing all has to come together for the business to be profitable.
Your contract compliance manager should also know who the key players are in the organization. Business is about relationships. A contract compliance manager needs to know who the people are who can solve problems and who can take action to prevent a breach.
Contract compliance managers are often in difficult situations. Their job is to look for problems, and to bring those problems to the attention of the right person in the organization. However, sometimes people don’t want to hear about any problems. They already have enough on their plate, they don’t want to have to deal with anything or anyone else.
You want to hire a manager that is persistent. They are willing to keep pushing to make sure the right thing happens. They have to be able to not take “no” for an answer.
A great contract compliance manager is also willing to keep working to make changes to future contracts to prevent making the same mistakes. It often takes a lot of effort to create lasting change in any organization.
Your contract compliance manager will interface with almost every part of the business. Great managers are always learning new things.
You need someone who is always asking questions, discovering better ways to do things, and willing to make changes in their workflow. You want your contract compliance manager to wonder why the company does things a certain way, or why the same problems keep cropping up month after month.
Curiosity is essential for a contract compliance manager. It gives them an edge that will make them better at their job and will make your company more profitable.