(c) Point to the destination (talk about it – set priorities)

Contract automation and your destination postcard. An ambitious goal motivates both the rider and the elephant. Point to and talk a compelling destination. Such story redirects thinking because the driver begins to figure out how to get there. As a leader, create what SWITCH calls a destination postcard, a vivid image from the near-term future of what is possible. Then back it up with a script for the behaviours you want. Indicating the destination makes the rider think about how to get there. Change becomes easier if you know where you’re going and why it is worth aiming at.

Your own destination postcard. A few questions to help you:

  • Can you paint a rich, detailed picture of what the right destination looks like?
  • Make it concrete. Make it motivational (or competitive).
  • Avoid metrics as a destination postcard. Metrics make poor destinations – ’return on equity’ or ‘gross margin’ targets are not going to inspire many people.
  • Does it pass the champagne test? Is your destination clear enough that people will know when to celebrate?
  • Consider moving from process to outcome: “100 percent of business covered by a contract” may not motivate as much as “0 percent claims.”

Align contract automation with the corporate strategy. When ASML became Weagree’s launching customer, they had completed an internal assessment, which clarified that 80 percent of their work was contracts-related. In 2009, ASML’s board instructed all executives and departments to prepare for their updated five-years strategy: a doubling of their turnover. ASML’s head of legal realised that in such case, the volume of contracts would not merely double, but multiply. It would require a completely different approach to contracting. In their subsequent decisions, he and other in-house legal counsel knew what to do. While the numbers of created contracts ‘exploded’ after launching Weagree, further-automation was paramount without permitting delay. For Weagree, participation in the strategy of this destination postcard was wonderful. And everyone in the Netherlands and the semiconductor industry knows: ASML’s turnover and profits followed.

As ‘backsliding’ is a latent risk, consider a black-and-white goal. If your team members try to rationalise-away their failure to adopt contract automation (the way people on a diet do – “it was such a hard day that I needed that ice cream”, consider setting a black-and-white goal. Set a goal that does not tolerate dissent. It’s ‘always or never’, ‘all or nothing’. “Always create your first-draft contract with the Weagree Wizard and copy-paste anything that needs to be inserted manually.” “If you need to copy-paste a clause more than once, prepare it for insertion in Weagree’s clause library.” Note that black-and-white goals create a danger of demoralisation if you do not meet them consistently. To avoid overreaction to failure, see below on the growth mindset (under the elephant: let your people grow.