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Running Businesses with COWBOY ETHICS

By Bob Funk, Sr.

With the 2020 pandemic behind us, are you ready to embrace Cowboy Ethics in your businesses?

As Express companies reach franchisees, clients and associates in countries around the world – now including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada – it is the “code of the west” that prevails in our approach to win/win relationships, brand management, customer satisfaction and employee retention.

In moving our staffing company from Seattle, Washington to central Oklahoma in the mid-1980s, it made since to formally adopt the same Cowboy Ethics that tamed the American West highlighted by drive, common goals, mutual respect and accountability.

So, if your post-Covid business environment is sheepish, off track or falling behind, I suggest you and your executive team remember The West and re-evaluate the behaviors of loyal hands and results-oriented actions governed by the unwritten rules based on spirit, respect and honor.

As sceptics continue talking about a pending recession impacting the US from coast to coast, this is a good time to measure the company’s vision, mission and values, the current culture and risk-taking positions so as to get ahead of ‘upcoming curves’ in your industry. Many good folks have gleaned wisdom and insights from the Code of the West and Cowboy Ethics and we have compiled some of the best quips to include those out of the mouth of celebrities like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood as well as Great Westerners like Frank Phillips and Will Rogers.

• The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man.

• Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.

• A man deserves a second chance, but keep an eye on him.

• If everything isn't black-and-white, I say why the hell not?

• I won't be wronged.

• Respect your efforts, respect yourself.

• What you put into life is what you get out of it.

• I tried being reasonable, I didn't like it.

• Live each day with courage, without need for glory or recognition: Reach beyond yourself and put fear aside to get things done.

• Finish what you start: When things are toughest give it your all. When faced with challenges, work harder and smarter.

• Do what has to be done: Rely on your principles whenever issues arise – not when it’s too late. When weighing decisions, ask yourself, “Is this right?”

• When you make a promise, keep it – whether it benefits both parties equally or demands additional work. Be someone others can count on.

• Ride for the brand: You represent yourself and the brand of the company you work for in every action you take, every day.

• There will never be any class of people in our country that can replace the old western cowman for common sense, shrewdness, humor and fine citizenship.

• I have a very strict gun control policy: if there's a gun around, I want to be in control of it.

Having enjoyed the opportunity to walk this beautiful earth for more than eight decades and having built dozens of businesses over those blessed years, I implore family members, friends, colleagues and leaders to study those Western ways which helped shape the many great American companies of the 19th century and adopt them as company standards - even as a mindset and a way of life.

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