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College of Business|University of Wyoming

Standing Tall in an Upside-Down World

The University of Wyoming College of Business and the Center for Cowboy Ethics and Leadership have joined forces to develop a pilot leadership program which uses The Code of the West as its organizing concept.  The initiative, "Standing Tall in an Upside-Down World," was introduced to Wyoming businesses the winter of 2011.

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By design, this initiative is as much about motivating as it is about educating.  To that end, we created this initiative with the goal of inspiring businesspeople to become principled leaders in their companies, industries, and communities at large. 

While this is very different from the academic approach the college takes to business ethics under the leadership of Dick McGinity (the Bill Daniels Chair of Business Ethics), we think it is a worthy and important complement.  Briefly, the initiative consists of a half-day workshop designed mainly for owners and managers of small to medium-sized businesses or organizations.   These workshops are marketed through our association with the Wyoming Chamber Partnership and delivered by UW College of Business personnel.

Why this initiative?

While Wyoming is a long way from Wall Street, surveys show that Americans don't think businesses or business leaders can be trusted.  Therefore, we feel there's a real need for the "good guys" in the business world to stand up and show what exactly it is they stand for and believe.  Through this initiative, the Wyoming business community has a unique opportunity to be viewed as a leader in this area.  

As part of this leadership initiative, we are committed to hosting what we're calling "The Community of the Code" as an online platform for collaboration among businesses that embrace The Code of the West or another code of their choosing.  The site can be accessed at:

We envision this site taking root and growing into a robust online community where business leaders can find out what others are doing to "live their code" and what it has meant to their businesses.  After completing one of our workshops, you will be able participate in this program.  And while being a member of the community does involve making a pledge, it's strictly a promise to yourself that you'll strive to Stand Tall by:

  • Living [your] Code each day
  • Finding tangible ways to put [your] principles into action
  • Being a role model for principled leadership
  • Giving of [yourself] in community service
We will see how this community grows organically, and add components as we find there is interest and demand.  Right now, we are also considering an annual event with an awards program.  In short, we know there's more that we can do, so we will be watching for those opportunities as this initiative unfolds.  


The Code of the West

Live each day with courage.
Take pride in your work.
Always finish what you start.
Do what has to be done.
Be tough, but fair.
When you make a promise, keep it.
Ride for the brand.
Talk less and say more.
Remember that some things aren't for sale.
Know where to draw the line.

From the book Cowboy Ethics © 2004 Used by Permission

What's Your Code?

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