What Happened to the Good Old Fashioned Handshake?


320px-Black_&_White_Handshake_-_Still_from_the_film_Colour_Blind_(2009)What if I was a frequent customer of your sub shop? I become a regular and pretty soon you are making my sandwich before I even get to the door. We develop trust and pretty soon start exchanging information about our work, family, and interests. I tell you about my business in credit card processing. We shake hands on a promise that I will make it worth your while, or you can prepare a contract with details about obligations and specifics.

For most people these days a contract is the only way to do it. It is safe. It is detailed. It can get extremely complicated and can come with downsides. What if we went back to the days of a handshake? A verbal promise that you are committed to providing the best service or product. We make verbal promises all day long in our personal life. I will be home for dinner, I will call the babysitter, I will go to the gym, etc. Think about what we could do in the business world if we made the same types of agreements. Speaking (or handshaking) can prove very valuable in keeping your word.

The CEO of a company decided to reign in the evaluation process at the company and required strict performance reviews and the reviews determined the pay increase of the employee. While this sounds very typical of a company the previous way that the CEO handled the pay increase was based on the employee getting the work done and doing it well. The strict rubric that was put in place of the “handshake” trust took away from the company moral. Soon, it felt like a cold and almost robotic place to work. The people were more focused on getting things done and lost sight of the mission.

Getting back to the good ole handshake is the way to do business. While some may think of it as an incomplete contract, in my opinion if you can’t keep your word with a handshake then I am probably not going to continue to do business with you anyway. Not only that but word of mouth spreads faster than any contract.