How They Do It in Texas

It was at that point that Roscoe introduced me to the concept of the Texas handshake. I was about to be educated.

"I grew up in the oil fields of Texas,"[4] Roscoe explained. "In the oil patch, a man's word is his bond. When you shake hands on something, it is a commitment. And commitments are sacred."

[4] Roscoe started out in the oil patch. Later on, he migrated into mining. If he had played golf, he would have dug his swing out of the ground, too.

I asked if he could give me an example.

"Sure," he said. "Suppose I have some tubulars[5] that I need to move from one oil rig to another on short notice. What do I do? I call my local hotshot,[6] and he sends a flatbed. Within the hour, I get my stuff moved."

[5] Tubulars is oil field slang for 30-foot-long sections of drill pipe or drill collars, which are cylindrical in aspect. Anything with this form factor is generically referred to as a tubular, fregardless of any other characteristic. Tubulars can be very heavy and are always a pain to transport.

[6] Trucker for hire. These guys wait by the phone for just such business.

"Now the beauty of all this," Roscoe continued, "is that we do the whole deal with a handshake. We agree on where and when the tubulars have to move, and what the price is. His commitment is to deliver the goods promptly, and my commitment is to pay promptly. There's no contract, although I probably scribble my initials on some paperwork when he picks up the pieces.

"The point is, there are no lawyers. There's no need for any, nor is there time. We shake hands. If either one of us doesn't honor the spirit of the commitment, then we will never work again in the oil patch."

Really? Wow, I thought, what a concept.

"It's true. Your word is your bond, and your handshake is your word. Once the word gets around that your handshake is worthless, you become a non-person. No one will deal with you."

The Software Development Edge(c) Essays on Managing Successful Projects
The Software Development Edge(c) Essays on Managing Successful Projects
Year: 2006
Pages: 269 © 2008-2017.
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