A Conscious Approach to Business
Businesses are starting to embrace Conscious Contracts, also known as Values-based Contracts. This model of contract drafting ties in well with the Conscious Business movement and challenges a company’s integrity since this model requires that companies actually live by their declared purpose, mission, and values. Conscious Contracts are marked by several key elements:
- Conscious Contracts are written in plain language. They’re meant for ease of use by the parties and stakeholders, and they are not drafted for judges or lawyers to interpret.
- The tone and content are relational. The goal of a conscious contract is to create a sustainable relationship to encourage individuals & businesses together. The goal isn’t to exploit the other party, but to memorialize a trusted relationship. Conscious Contracts aren’t a competition, but an alliance meant to benefit all the parties involved. The values are memorialized in the contract because they are important to the creation of the relationship.
- Conscious Contracts are not intended to be thrown in a drawer and pulled out when someone is angry. They’re working documents, more like constitutions, that get amended when circumstances change.
- The parties then actually conduct their relationship in alignment with their stated purposes, values, and principles. Their goals are transparent with each other and it is clear what each will get out of the relationship, as well as what each is willing to give.
- In many conventional contracts, conflict resolution is assumed to be a trial in front of a judge. Conscious Contracts contain an alternative dispute resolution provision that ties back to the purposes, values, and principles. When change occurs or a conflict arises, it provides a structure for engaging in problem-solving, not arming for war. The focus is on preventing conflict and resolving those conflicts which arise as quickly as possible. After all, it is in the best interests of the parties and the contract if resources are focused on business, not conflict.
- Conscious Contracts often take more time to negotiate, but they create more sustainable relationships with structures so everyone knows what to do when a dispute arises or something unexpected happens. That ultimately saves time and resources for all parties involved.
- Conscious Contracts are still based on solid legal principles. Each clause is consciously & carefully considered as to its necessity and relevance. While the intent is to avoid court and contentious litigation, Conscious Contracts are still enforceable if the relationship totally breaks down and resolution is not possible. They include the elements that are required for this transaction without the pages of irrelevant paragraphs so often in the contract forms.
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