The following article series is reproduced from www.StevePavlina.com with kind permission of Steve Pavlina
This is part five of a ten-part series of articles by Steve Pavlina about the mistakes made by the newly self-employed.
Ten Stupid Mistakes Made By The Newly Self-Employed – No.5: Assuming A Signed Contract Will Be Honored
I’ve made this mistake more than I care to admit.
I’ve had signed contracts with supposedly reputable corporations, and they weren’t worth squat when the CEO decided he wanted out of the deal, even for completely dishonorable reasons.
Sure I was in the right, but did I want to go to court to enforce it? No, I’d rather continue doing meaningful work.
A signed contract is just a piece of paper. What’s behind a signed contract is a relationship. If the relationship goes sour, the contract won’t save you.
The purpose of a contract is to clearly define everyone’s roles and commitments. But it’s the relationship, not the paper, that ultimately enforces those commitments.
When I understood this, I focused more on relationships and worried less about what was on paper, and my business deals went much more smoothly. Once you start falling back on the paper, the deal is already in trouble.
Creative (and lucrative) business deals almost always stray from the paper contracts that represent them.
One of my attorneys, who had worked on dozens of game development deals, told me that no deal he worked on ever followed the contract exactly; most weren’t even close. And these were big money deals in many cases.
Business relationships are similar to other personal relationships — they twist and turn all over the place.
Written contracts are still necessary, especially when dealing with larger corporations where people come and go, but they’re secondary to relationships. Just don’t make the mistake of assuming that the contract is the deal.
The contract is only the deal’s shadow. The real deal is the relationship. Keep your business relationships in good order, and you won’t have to worry so much about what’s on paper.
It’s sad but true that there are loads of scoundrels in business. Many of them hold titles like CEO, President, and CFO. There are indeed people out there who seem to care about nothing but money, and they will lie, cheat, and steal to get it. In recent years some of the more despicable ones have gotten themselves indicted (or are already behind bars).
But there are also plenty of others to whom the word honor has no meaning.
For example, in the computer gaming industry, it isn’t unusual for large publishers to feign interest in certain games and string the developers along. They give the developer every indication that a deal is pending, but all the developer sees are delays and false verbal promises.
In reality the publisher only wants to keep the game off the market to keep it from competing with one of their own titles. They hope to cause the developer to miss the next Christmas season or to run out of cash and cancel the title altogether.
Business, especially the entertainment industry, is not for the timid.
So don’t put too much faith in signed contracts.
About the Author
Steve Pavlina of www.StevePavlina.com is a highly successful personal development blogger who has written more than 1000 articles and recorded many audio programs on a range of self-help topics. He is a frequent guest on radio and Internet radio shows.
Steve’s book Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth is published by Hay House and has now been translated into a dozen different languages.
To read reviews or to purchase a copy of Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth by Steve Pavlina visit www.amazon.com
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