How to Become a Better Manager: Key Resources for Contract Managers | AXDRAFT (an Onit company)
Gene Perret once said: “Education can get you the one thing that really matters in today’s world: a reserved parking space.”
When we talk about a career as a contract manager, formal education is, by all means, essential. But if you supplement your college degree with self-education, you can achieve so much more. We’ll help you do that by suggesting some contract management resources.
How can I become a better contract manager?
You have probably wondered at least once: “When should I study if a third of my life is spent at work? All I want after a day of work is to have a beer and relax. We understand that. We feel your pain.
But we also know that it’s much easier to learn new things if you choose the right approach and the right resources. Let’s see what you can do.
have time alone
Make yourself comfortable, turn off the lights, put on some relaxing music and… grab a book. Few things can give you as much knowledge as a well-written book based on research, facts, and real cases.
We’ll leave it up to you to find the right one for your industry, but we’ll take the risk of recommending a few on contract management in general.
The first book on our TBR list is the Contract Management Body of Knowledge, published by the National Contract Management Association (NCMA). This is probably the most comprehensive guide to contract management terminology, practices, policies and processes.
Number two on our list is Practical Advice on How to Contract by Laura Frederick. The title says it all. In this handbook, Laura shares her first-hand experience of managing contracts for large international companies.
Additionally, industry leaders often self-publish e-books to share their expertise with their audience. Some of them are available for free
Keep your hands (and your mind) busy
That dreaded daily commute or queuing to see your GP might actually be good for your new habit of self-education. At that time, your brain and your hands are inactive. Why not use them wisely and read a professional blog?
You have a variety of options to choose from. Why not check out the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium blog, a free resource with hundreds of articles on streamlining legal processes? Or follow the blogs of a few established contract management companies. There are dozens of them, including our company. If you read our blog, you already know that AXDRAFT offers dozens of informative articles to hone your contract management skills.
Do it half way
If you find blogs too flippant and books too long, opt for something in between: magazines and contract management journals. Research-driven, they’ll give you a comprehensive overview of the latest trends backed by facts and figures. Journal of Contract Management is one of the professional outlets that we wholeheartedly recommend.
Want more? Look for standalone items with a narrow focus, for example, on avocados or supplies. Procure Search is a great resource.
Run forest run!
Or squat. Or do push-ups. And listen to podcasts. Press the play button on your smartphone or slide it into the treadmill cradle to watch YouTube videos.
There’s enough content to meet every need, from general contract management topics to highly specialized issues. For example, the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply covers both procurement-specific issues and the overall contract management cycle on its YouTube channel.
Olga V. Mack often invites industry experts to her Notes To My (Legal) Self podcast to talk about contract management and the future of contracts.
The Voice of Contract Management, another podcast run by the NCMA, addresses nearly every trend and question you might have as a professional. So choose what you want to “inflate” your brain while inflating your body.
Fly like an artist!
No, this is not a call for hacking. We leave you only a hint about an excellent source of new ideas and inspiration for your projects – case studies.
Almost all companies describe successful cases of software adoption or service delivery on their websites. You may find them useful. Common contract management schemes and templates work most of the time, you just need to tweak the details. The more case studies you explore, the easier it will be to find a suitable solution to a difficult task.
Become more outgoing
A lot of introverts probably flinched, but don’t worry: you don’t have to hang out with other managers all day long. All you need is to join the contract management association.
A contract management organization is a one-stop shop for valuable resources and contacts. It gives you all the resources described above in one place and with quality assurance. For example, NCMA membership allows you to apply for its contract management certification, courses, and webinars. You can also subscribe to the journal (free!) and to the association’s blog. In addition, you have the chance to participate in its annual global conference to network and share your experience.
Most associations work the same way: paying a membership fee gives you almost unlimited access to knowledge, expertise and resources to develop your contract management skills.
You just have to decide what you need: a global organization with thousands of members like the International Association for Contract and Commercial Management (IACCM) or a more specialized organization like the Supply Chain Management Association (SCMA) .
Each of the self-education methods and resources we have listed can take anywhere from fifteen minutes to a few hours of your free time per day. But by making it a habit, you will quickly go from lack of skill to increased skill. Remember to rest though: a super-smart but irritated and tired employee is not the best candidate for a successful relationship with his employer and co-workers.
You don’t have to work hard for years to become the best contract manager around – the internet offers tons of resources to consume on the go. Blogs, magazines, articles, books, podcasts, and videos are all here to help you hone your skills and stay current. They are also economical and do not take the whole evening, unlike paid courses.
But if you’re looking for paid options, webinars, workshops, and conferences are the way to go. The easiest way to access all of these resources is to join a contract management association. It is your single point of contact for the know-how and experience of hundreds of people in exchange for reasonable compensation.
Whatever you choose, in the end, you will find that learning new things is quite easy and fun.