At CHB, ‘Company Culture’ Is a Bit Different. You hear about “company culture” a lot these days, usually in connection with cereal bars, child care facilities, and other amenities and perks a company uses to incentivize its employees. In places like Silicon Valley, the “office” may have a bowling alley or table tennis. But culture goes beyond just what you give to people; it’s also about what you take and how you live your life on and off the clock. You can’t just give people a culture; instead, your culture is made from the people who work there.
At CHB, our culture looks more like a code — what some might recognize as the “cowboy code” of the West. If that sounds complicated, let us break it down a bit. Most people’s ideas of “cowboys” come from Hollywood, and that’s certainly what springs to mind when we talk about a code. But cowboys were real people, and their job — driving thousands of cattle across miles of countryside — was a hard one. When you have a job like that, you develop a way of acting and living. It keeps you safe, makes sure you get paid at the end of the day, and allows you to work long hours with different kinds of people without coming into serious conflict. That system of rules is the basis for the cowboy code — and it’s the basis for our company culture as well. We aren’t in the cattle business, but virtues like “be tough but fair” and “work hard, play hard” are things we gladly do, and they come from the cowboys.
So does “don’t make a promise you can’t keep,” and the related “don’t start a job you can’t finish.” If people can’t rely on you, they won’t be able to do business with you! Of all of them, the most important virtue is “be true to your word.” Historically, cowboys didn’t own much. They were often drifters and almost always strangers in every town they came to. Without a family name to back them up or a fortune to point at, the cowboy’s word was all that individual had. The cowboy’s heyday may be over, but their virtues live on through us. Perhaps you feel the same way. After all, you don’t need to be a cowboy, or even a Westerner, to follow the Code of the West.