Jan 7, 2013

"Cowboy Up" and Learn about Ethics

Oh, the American West.  Whether you know how to "cowboy up", enjoy western movies, or want to escape the crass city life, there is also much to be learned from the American Cowboy.

At the base of the Bighorn Mountains, there is a working ranch in Shell, Wyoming.  This isn't your typical "Dude Ranch" where staff quickly pull off price tags on their Wranglers before wrangling up some toast!  No, this ranch has been in the same family for over 100 years and is the real deal. The first time I visited was 2006.  I have been back several times.  

So, what does this have to do with manners?  Oh, so very much!

One of my favorite books is Cowboy Ethics: What Wall Street Can Learn From The Code Of The West   I found this book while visiting the ranch and it is carefully placed smack dab in the middle of my bookcase.  The book suggests that if corporations practice these basic values, there will be business transformation for clients and firms.  I glance at it [as needed] to remind myself that this character is not fictional.  For the American cowboy, farmer, and rancher it is ingrained and practiced to survive.  Here's "The Code" summarized from the book by James P. Owen.

Code of the West 
from "Cowboy Ethics:  What Wall street Can learn from the Code of the West by James P. Owen"

Live each day with courage.
Take pride in your work.
Always finish what you start.
Do what has to be done.

Be tough, but fair.
When you make a promise, keep it.
Ride for the brand.
Talk less and say more.
Remember that some things aren't for sale.
Know where to draw the line.

The picture above was taken by me while helping a neighbor move 700 head of cattle 20 miles prior to an auction.  He couldn't have moved without the help of neighbors.

While this is not intended to be a book review.  I do recommend for those in leadership roles and/or for ideas in creative parenting.

During my lengthy corporate career, one of my Sales Managers' favorite sayings to his team was "Fair? Nothing is fair.  Fair is only something the bus driver receives".  Not so.  I believe that we all know what is right, wrong, and fair.  Sometimes we just need to see things differently to appreciate very basic values.

Happy Trails!


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