The Code of Conduct

The code of conduct is not so much a principle by itself, but a powerful cocktail of persuasion principles that qualifies the person. It simultaneously achieves:

Ideally, it should not list specific actions but ideals and general behaviors. “I commit to respecting [ABC]’s time and authority”, “I commit to not wasting [ABC]’s time”, and so on. This will affect the person subconsciously.

Underlying Psychology/Biases


  • It’s recommended you also have a code of conduct for yourself
    • It’s much easier to get others to commit to certain behaviors when you’re doing it on your side as well;
  • It can be used in a written format or verbally
    • Verbally is less powerful, but can still work (giving someone “your word” or having a “gentlemen’s agreement”);



  • LOIs
    • In sales, LOIs (or Letters of Interest) are nothing more than documents indicating interest from a prospect. They’re not a contract, and they’re not legally enforceable, but they do affect how they behave;
  • Codes of conduct
    • Actual codes of conduct embedded in service agreements such as gyms, banks, etc, change your behavior in terms of what you commit to doing in general;
  • Company culture collaterals
    • When hired by a new company, recent hires will be indoctrinated with the company’s “culture”, which is a set of principles and behaviors;
    • In most cases, the hires actually have to sign a code of conduct that goes according to those principles;


  • Giving your word
    • When someone gives you your word, they are subconsciously convinced to do something. Even if there’s no proof, they are persuaded to do it;
  • “Gentlemen’s agreements”
    • Gentlemen’s agreements are nothing more than verbal contracts between men. They don’t replace written ones, but they affect how the people involved behave;
  • MoU
    • A more formal version of a gentlemen’s agreement;
    • MoUs are usually documents indicating a consensus of action between two parties, usually two companies. They usually do not contain legal clauses, and are just about the actual course of action. They’re a code of conduct for a specific task, in a way;

Commercial/Known Uses

Key Takeaways

  • The code of conduct is a powerful persuasion cocktail leveraging may of the Effort techniques mentioned;
  • It can be written or verbal. Naturally, the written version has more power, but the verbal one is not useless, and can be a small boost;
  • It works better if you walk the talk. Have a code of conduct for yourself, and the other side will sign their own code much more easily;