What are values-based contracts?
Values-based contracts are also known by the registered trademark, Conscious Contracts®, and names such as Sustainable Contracts, Mindful Contracts, Vision-based Contracts, and Integrative Contracts. Originally designed for the conscious business movement, they’ve shown applicability to a broader range of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs find they help to focus their efforts and create a more sustainable foundation that allows smart growth. Here is an overview provided through two articles from Enlivening Edge Magazine.
Participants: Designed for lawyers involved in drafting and negotiating contracts. There can also be a mixed group including non-lawyer entrepreneurs, service providers, and clients.
Past Offerings: U.S., South Africa, India, Australia, UK, and Europe. I’ve offered it several times to the Australian Corporate Counsel Association.
Time: I can introduce the concept in an hour. Ideally, it is a two-day workshop which allows for the depth that is necessary for a real application. An introductory workshop can also be delivered in a six-hour day. There is a Certification program which requires additional training and experience.
Conscious Contracts®: Designing a Collaborative, Values-Based, Purposeful Approach to Agreements
A global shift is occurring in business. The rise of benefit corporations, corporate social and environmental responsibility, the Conscious Capitalism movement, Reinventing Organizations, and Firms of Endearment means many businesses are focused on creating values-based cultures.
Often, they see lawyers as the enemy to progress and it is true that lawyers don’t tend to be aware of the cultural shifts, much less leading them. Clients miss out on helpful advice and counsel. And the lawyers miss the context of the process.
The workshop introduces the movement of Conscious Contracts® and equips participants with practical and relevant tools in drafting a Conscious Contract®. We will discuss how lawyers can assist companies in aligning their legal documents with the company’s values, creating long-term sustainable relationships in all legal documents. We will reimagine the transformation of contracts from the traditional, adversarial model to those which respond to clients’ need and improve the relationships between the company and its stakeholders.
We will learn how to support parties in designing their own process for communicating about change and disagreements, allowing them to prevent and resolve conflict at early stages.
In the workshop, in learning how to coach clients to focus on the big questions, lawyers also will have the opportunity to inquire into their own values and how they might impact their choices in life and law.
The training will provide information plus experiential learning and practice.
- Paradigm Shift
- Different names for process
- Context of the global movement
- A bit of history of CC
- Parallels in other disciplines
- Where they’re being used and by whom
The Core Elements of a Conscious Contract®
- Foundation in legal principles.
- Freedom of contract
- Both a process and a document
- The Paradigm Shift/Mindset Shift
- For people, not judges
- Not coercion but agreement-based. Co-designers, not adversaries. Allies.
- Goal is not to exploit but to memorialize and clarify agreements
- For matters too important to trust to forms downloaded from the internet.
- Allow for VUCA – flexible working documents
- Relational, plain language
- Creative (For example, can include visuals)
- Designing the Touchstone
- Who are we? Why do we want to do this? What is the mission we’re bringing into the world? Do we align? Can we work together?
- Co-Creating the ACED/Peace Pact – conducting a relationship in alignment with stated purpose, values and principles
- A structure for preventing and resolving conflict and move on to the purpose, stay focused on the goals
- Saves time and resources
- Getting back on track when we lose our way (or our minds)
- Foundation in legal principles.
There are several versions of the Conscious Contracts® training. I often co-lead with trainers who bring special skills. Some versions include design thinking and creative exercises. For example, in Spain, Alex Carrascosa and I co-created a sort of contracts gameboard based on design thinking. We’re experimenting with start-ups with great success. The gameboard offers a structure to streamline the process and to get a lot of work done efficiently. I sometimes use versions of the gameboard in trainings. It is not unusual for me to also include activities to spark creativity such as arts and crafts.
From the Comic Book Contracts Conference, Perth, Western Australia, December, 2017