Back-and-forth conversations to reach an agreement when the customer and the supplier do not see eye-to-eye on the solution to the performance issue. An organization’s willingness to negotiate is—at some basic level—a confession of mutual need. Those needs are reflected in the organization’s interests. Bringing facilitation skills to dispute resolution means not only understanding the customer’s interests, needs, concerns and problems. But also understanding the supplier’s interests, needs, concerns, and problems with the goal being to resolve a performance issue.
Benefit from incorporating facilitation skills into their already bulging tool kit. Facilitators work in a more neutral manner. An advocate, such as an attorney, is not neutral. Facilitators seek to manage the conversation between many stakeholders who will resolve a dispute. Facilitators do not have the authority to make someone do anything. The goal of a neutral facilitator is to empower the stakeholders to solve the problem without the aid of a third-party decision maker (such as a judge or arbitrator). Solving issues post-award requires the contract professional to:
- Encourage participation from both parties,
- Promote understanding to ensure future performance,
- Foster inclusive decisions (which leads to greater buy-in), and
- Cultivate shared responsibility.
For example, the right solution for your organization may include meeting implied or implicit performance obligations to ensure that the other party can perform on its end. That’s why the Requirements Checklist (in The Contract Professional’s Playbook) asks the contract professional to document implied customer and supplier obligations, and to include those in the contract T&Cs.
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