- Standard of Business
- Producing Real Value
- The Harming of Others
- Directed Passion and Hard Work
- The Handshake
- Misdirection and Deception
- Partnerships of Trust
- Amorality of Money
- Money: A Means, Not an End
- The Great Liege Lord: Greed
- Human Relationships, Not Numbers
- Losing with Honor
- The Trap of Zero-Sum Thinking
- Align or Die!
- Creating Shared Stakeholder Value
- Capitalism: The Powers of Good and Evil
- Guarding Growth
Or, at least that’s how it used to be.
In my lifetime, as a younger man, you were assumed to be an honest person. Your word was your bond, and a handshake was as good as a contract in business.
~ Mark Skousen
And, for some of us, that’s how it still is. Myself included.
Do a web search for “handshake is a binding contract“, and you’ll get some rather interesting results. Actually, what you get is a list of results about whether or not a handshake is binding. Suddenly my nice tight statement is now a question.
|Australia||Yes (with caveats)|
|United States||Yes (with caveats)|
So, even where it is enforceable, it’s not enforceable in all circumstances.
One of the objections some give is they can’t trust the other person, so we’ll need to draw up all sorts of contracts to make sure everyone is kept honest. Might I suggest a dishonest person is dishonest regardless of the existence of a contract.
I can’t control whether or not another person is honest. I can only control my own actions, so I search for others who share the same beliefs about honesty I do.
It also has the added benefit of keeping costs down. If I can trust the people with whom I work, I don’t have to get (nearly) all of the lawyers, attorneys, barristers, etc. involved.
It’s a win-win. 🙂
So, for my part, a handshake is binding on me, as is an oral agreement. I keep my word. One of the great men who existed in the linage of the university I attended was Karl G. Maeser. All students at that university are familiar with one of his quotes on this subject:
Place me behind prison walls—walls of stone ever so high, ever so thick, reaching ever so far into the ground. There is a possibility that in some way or another I may be able to escape. But stand me on that floor and draw a chalk line around me and have me give my word of honor never to cross it. Can I get out of that circle? No. Never.
This is how I feel, as well, and I long for the day when there are more who say, believe and do the same. Until then, it is what I will do, regardless of others.
Let your handshake be a greater bond than any written contract.
~ Steve Maraboli