There’s a lot of sense in James Owen’s Cowboy Ethics that relates tomodern business ownership, such as living each day with courage, taking pride in your work, and always finishing what you start. Make sense?
Your entrepreneurial spirit and drive to succeed gives you the courage to greet each day, and that belief in your product or service imbues that sense of pride. Napoleon Hill writes about winners never quitting and quitters never winning, so finish what you start. A half-hearted effort is just that, half-hearted and hardly worth doing at all.
Other aspects of the cowboy code were/are to do what has to be done. If a fire has to be put out before you leave for the day, put it out. If you’re in the food service business, you clean up the garbage whether you want to or not. It has to get done.
Along the same line, a solid principle is to ride for the brand. As the business owner, you live, eat, and breathe your brand – your business, products, and services. You represent your brand. You are selling it, even when you don’t think you are. The vision you create for your employees and customers should convince them to ride (act and be loyal) for your brand as well.
Think of Harley-Davidson as an example. Harley owners ride their motorcycles because they love the bikes, and they are extremely loyal to the H-D brand. Dealers and employees perpetuate the concept of riding for the brand. It’s the brand loyalty every business owner aspires to, or should want for their products and services.
Cowboys were hired on by the trail boss to ride for the owner of the cattle they were herding; the brand. Their life, in many ways, depended on their loyalty to riding for the brand.
The cowboy way of life and sense of ethics may seem archaic in a high-tech world, but the values these pioneers in the expansion of our country held still have merit. What follows is Owens’ entire list:
- 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, say more
- Remember that some things aren’t for sale
- Know where to draw the line.