Lost Art of the Handshake
Posted by Lance Atkins on April 19, 2011 4 Comments
“My first business loan from the bank was done with just a handshake.”
In a rural farm town of Colorado, my father started selling tractors in 1971. Leon Atkins Motors started peddling Minneapolis Moline tractors, then Ford cars, and the rest is history. Recently, 40 years later, he sold his business.
But wait...his business was bank-financed with only a handshake as a promise? That banker, without legal contract, trusted his word?
I grew up working at Leon Atkins Motors, and more than I remember the farm equipment, I remember the people. I got to see a lot of handshakes. I got to waste a lot of time shooting the breeze with farmers. They’re always worried about too little rain and they’re also good people working hard to make a living. We left the keys in the parked car and always waved when passing on the street. It’s as if there was a hint of “I trust you” built into everyday life.
The world, and business, has become a convoluted place. Contracts, rules, and worry are all hard to avoid. Don’t forget to pay your cell phone bill and don’t be 5 minutes late to your next meeting.
Being a local business in Golden, CO, we have gotten to experience some handshake deals lately. We're working with Bill, a local cabinet maker. He helped us with a big project and only said, “We’ll figure out the numbers later.” We are brainstorming an urban-wood-recycling project with Jonathan, a local tree trimmer. He gave us some amazing wood to play with and asked for nothing, just a “See you soon.” Friends, local business owners, and complete strangers have been coming out of the woodwork to help. We can't help but feel like we get to be a part of a family.
Let’s bring back handshakes.