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CONTRACT: what is really behind our name?

“Are you able to assist with an employment contract” or “Do you provide contract workers to the construction industry” are just two of the questions we get at times regarding our name and our services. Yet our name holds much meaning for us, and was chosen carefully by our founders 20 years ago. Find out what is really behind our name:

CONTRACT – what’s the story behind our name?

Why did our German founders choose this English expression for their company, what is the intention behind our brand? There are two main reasons for our name. The first: CONTRACT is one of the core concepts of Transactional Analysis, which is one of the main pillars of our work. The second: the Latin root of the word stands for the way we work with our clients.

Let’s speak about the second reason first. The word ‘contract’ goes back to its Latin roots of the words ‘con’ and ‘trahere’. ‘Con’ means ‘together’ and ‘trahere’ means ‘to pull’ or ‘to tow’. ‘Con-trahere’ stands for ‘pulling together’, which basically means a contract between two parties – which we see as basic principle of our work. ‘Pulling forward together’, thus moving together with our clients towards a better situation. We see ourselves as partners for our clients in organising such kinds of movements; both on a personal as well as an organisational level.

Our core assumption is that solutions for challenges in our ever changing world lie mainly within the person, organisation and system. We focus on developing and strengthening an organisation’s autonomy and self-reliance: being on a par is crucial to our client interaction. It’s in the ‘pulling TOGETHER’, rather than ‘us pulling the client’, or ‘the client pulling us’ that real transformation is possible. In terms of the energy that gets put into solving a given problem – it needs to be invested 50/50 between the client and us. Fulfilling a contract is mutual effort on both sides. As soon as there is more energy coming from us to solve a problem, we might not be working with the right method, or focussing on the real problem. Success for us is the development of our clients – and not the applause for sophisticated concepts and presentations.

As mentioned above, the CONTRACT is a fundamental concept of Transactional Analysis (TA). In TA, ‘contract’ refers to a ‘bilateral commitment to a well-defined course of action’. CONTRACTS/ agreements are the basis for our work. When entering a contract with someone, people make an adult commitment as opposed to a commitment that is made out of guilt or surrender (which would be a commitment made out of an ‘adapted child’ or ‘parent’ – feeling one has to enter the commitment in order to please someone or help someone who is incapable).

When entering a CONTRACT, the agreement is reached by equal parties. Maybe you have just stumbled across the word ‘equal’. How could a manager and an employee have equal status? Yes, that is an interesting question! Regarding the organisational position there is inequality – on a basic human level however we have to remember that there is equality. This differentiation is important around the world in all cultures – but it’s in particularly meaningful in South Africa. Even an employee who depends on his current job has many options for a ‘no’. It is about having a powerful ‘YES’ on both sides of the agreement – not a ‘YES, BUT’ which essentially is a ‘NO’. Should there be any questions regarding the cooperation, reaching a goal together, they need to be clarified and be made transparent upfront. Otherwise you will be confronted with somewhat confused, puzzled or resistant employees down the line. If you want to tap into people’s full competency and commitment to your company, there are things to learn about ‘contracting in leadership’.

In our seminars, coaching and consulting, we place great importance on CONTRACTs – firstly creating clear contracts between us and the clients, and stressing the equal, adult partnership between us and the client. Secondly, we equip clients with the confidence, clarity and skill to create clear contracts for themselves with their colleagues, clients, team and superiors.

It is about strengthening autonomy, and enabling people to develop in ways they can create powerful and transparent agreements as adults, and therefore create the basis for successful work relationships.

In conclusion, we place great value on having fun while collaborating with our clients as equal partners, working on our ‘CONTRACT’ in each phase of the work, firmly believing that this enables authentic human engagement which is key for genuine change and transformation.

We invite you to CONTRACT with us and become our partners!