What Should Tesla Look for in a Contracts Supervisor?

It was @SydneyAdams, of all people, who told me that Tesla is looking for a contracts supervisor for their delivery operations. (See the notice here.)

No, she’s not thinking of applying. And no, she didn’t think it was time for her father to get a proper job. Instead, she just thought it a little odd that the job requirements didn’t say much about expertise in contracts.

I concur. The way the notice is written, you get no sense that working with contracts is a specialized field. In particular, the requirements listed say nothing about contracts. How will they assess applicant skills in contract language and contract substance? I expect they have no plans to do so, simply because I expect they have no standards for their contracts. After all, in most of Corporate America, when it comes to contracts, you improvise.

Here’s what I’d add under “Requirements”:

  • Must be familiar with the contract-language guidelines stated in Kenneth A. Adams, A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting.
  • Must have been awarded a certificate in contract drafting (grade B+ or higher) from Ykebvjfnf Bshdhjseus.

I wrote here about the idea of using familiarity with MSCD as a credential. As for certification, no such program currently exists, but I wrote about that idea here and I’ve since mentioned it sporadically. I hope to develop such a program in the next few years.

While I’m in fantasy mode, I’d like to see the following included in the “Responsiblities” part of the notice:

  • Comply with Tesla’s style guide for contract language, Kenneth A. Adams, Drafting Clearer Contracts: A Concise Style Guide for Organizations.

That book will appear in 2018, so Tesla will just have to wait until then :-)

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.

6 thoughts on “What Should Tesla Look for in a Contracts Supervisor?”

  1. But the person in this position isn’t going to be writing contracts. They are going to be supervising people that are writing and managing contracts. Therefore, leadership and management skills are much more important that having a mastery of MSCD. I suppose a general awareness that MSCD exists might be useful but not much more than that.

    • It’s hard to tell from a job notice exactly what’s expected, but this notice says “Oversee review and drafting of contracts” and “Train and coach team members to consistently develop strong contractual/analytical skills.” That suggests to me that whoever holds the position will be expected to muck around with contract language.

      • This contract supervisor oversees all contracting operations in NA and spends time working with other parts of Tesla like finance and sales. They have a delivery operations manager who actually recruits contract specialists meaning (some interpretation here) that the contract supervisor being sought here is several levels above actual contract writing.

        I have been the boss of teams where the specialized knowledge and experience of the people doing the actual work greatly exceeded mine. In such a position, it’s important to know enough about the subject to decide when to override the working level (rarely) and when to do everything to make their lives easier so they can get on doing the work (mostly). Making their tactical jobs easier means taking a strategic approach and having the credibility in the big organization to make that possible.

        For this contract supervisor, establishing credibility in the company won’t be based on in-depth knowledge of crafting contract language. I suspect that being in charge of all NA contracting operations won’t leave much time for actually training and coaching individuals despite what the job ad says.

  2. I had no idea that Ykebvjfnf Bshdhjseus even gave certificates in contract drafting. She and I used to date when I lived in Finland years ago.


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