Code of the West in Business and in Sales
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Code of the West in Business and in Sales

May 15, 2010

I’ve been doing a bit of studying on what is called the “Code of the West”. It’s been fun reading about the Wild West and the unspoken code for those days. The first part of this letter is a brief history of the “code” and the second half of the letter is my list of The Code of the West in Business and in Sales.
The Code of the West
First chronicled by the famous western writer, Zane Grey, in his 1934 novel The Code of the West, no "written" code ever actually existed. However, the hardy pioneers who lived in the west were bound by these unwritten rules that centered on hospitality, fair play, loyalty, and respect for the land.
Ramon Adams, a Western historian, explained it best in his 1969 book, The Cowman and His Code of Ethics, saying, in part:
"Back in the days when the cowman with his herds made a new frontier, there was no law on the range. Lack of written law made it necessary for him to frame some of his own, thus developing a rule of behavior which became known as the "Code of the West." These homespun laws, being merely a gentleman’s agreement to certain rules of conduct for survival, were never written into statutes, but were respected everywhere on the range.
Though the cowman might break every law of the territory, state and federal government, he took pride in upholding his own unwritten code. His failure to abide by it did not bring formal punishment, but the man who broke it became, more or less, a social outcast. His friends ‘hazed him into the cutbacks’ and he was subject to the punishment of the very code he had broken.
Though the Code of the West was always unwritten, here is a "loose" list of some of the guidelines:
• Don't inquire into a person's past. Take the measure of a man for what he is today.
• Never steal another man's horse. A horse thief pays with his life.
• Defend yourself whenever necessary.
• Look out for your own.
• Remove your guns before sitting at the dining table.
• Never order anything weaker than whiskey.
• Don't make a threat without expecting dire consequences.
• Never pass anyone on the trail without saying "Howdy".
• When approaching someone from behind, give a loud greeting before you get within shooting range.
• Don't wave at a man on a horse, as it might spook the horse. A nod is the proper greeting.
• After you pass someone on the trail, don't look back at him. It implies you don't trust him.
• Riding another man's horse without his permission is nearly as bad as making love to his wife. Never even bother another man's horse.
• Always fill your whiskey glass to the brim.
• A cowboy doesn't talk much; he saves his breath for breathing.
• No matter how weary and hungry you are after a long day in the saddle, always tend to your horse's needs before your own, and get your horse some feed before you eat.
• Cuss all you want, but only around men, horses and cows.
• Complain about the cooking and you become the cook.
• Always drink your whiskey with your gun hand, to show your friendly intentions.
The Code of the West in Business and in Sales
1. Live each day with Courage. We are in challenging times and must stay prepared and ready for whatever waits around the corner.
2. Take pride in your work. In everything that you do, put out your best effort.
3. Always finish what you’ve started. Unfinished goals are disappointing. Celebrate with enthusiasm when you complete great actions and tasks.
4. Do what has to be done. There are certain daily disciplines that need to be done daily: prospecting, follow up with opportunities, etc.
5. Be tough, be fair. There are times that you need to stay firm in your business and sales decisions. Always play fair and you will win more opportunities than lose.
6. When you make a promise keep it. Deliver what you say you will do.
7. Talk less, say more. Do not dominate conversations. Time is money for you and your client. Say what needs to be said and move on. Bring value in every conversation.
8. Ride the brand. Be proud of your company, your profession and your skills. Brand yourself with excellence and integrity.
9. Remember, some things are not for sale. This would be your trust, your word, your integrity and your deep seated beliefs.
10. Know where to draw the line. Use every sense to guide you in all decisions. Know where to draw the line with the use of your time, talent and treasures.
• Have a wonderful and prosperous week!!
• Tom Ninness is the Vice President/Regional Production Manager for Cherry Creek Mortgage in Denver, CO. He is also the President of Summit Champions, Inc. and creator of the “The 90 Day Journey to Your Sales Success”, a powerful 90 day action plan for the sales professional. To learn more about The Journey and Summit Champions, go to: www.summitchampions.com or contact Tom at information@summitchampions.com Office: 303-840-0753.