Best Businesses

Know the Rules

Every sports team has a coach. They have rules. They have strategies. And – they practice. And when they are done practicing, they practice again. They practice in the rain and they practice in the shine. They practice regardless of life’s situations and the only time they take time out, is for some serious rest.

Your business is no different. You have a captain at the head of your ship. You have rules, policies, procedures, best practices, legal statute adherence requirements and you have major and minor leagues. There are teams throughout your organization, and whilst it may look like that one or two people might work in isolation to others, they too have a line of report.

So why should you know the rules? Well, how could you play the game fairly without knowing the rules. And, if the rules change, you best make sure that every team member knows the new rules – because ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the Law.

I was once the custodian of our organization’s rules, policies and procedures, best practices and legal statutes. I had to ensure that every employee was aware of these and then I had to apply correction when these rules were not followed. It was an honorable role to fulfil, one I did not take lightly. There was an element of playing God in some people’s lives – you decided their fate for their transgressions. I always, without fail, applied the three legal questions to every broken rule:

  1. was their a rule
  2. did the employee know of the rule
  3. could the employee reasonably have been aware of said rule

These questions ALWAYS steered my judgement. And then remember, labor law is based on balance of probability and not beyond reasonable doubt. Is it probable that he/she transgressed? Is their remorse (sincere) and even an ability for change? How serious is the misconduct/transgression?

You see, rules are the cornerstone of sound judgment in your business. You need each player to know what he or she can or cannot do. They need to know where they stand on the field and they need to know the strategy of the team so that they can work as a cohesive unit.

So here are some questions for you to consider for your business:

  1. do you have rules
  2. do you have policies and procedures
  3. do you have best practices
  4. are the above visible/available for your employees to view/read
  5. are you a legally abiding organization
  6. are you kept up to date with statute amendments


  1. have a noticeboard in the most frequented areas (such as corridors, canteens) and put up your important rules, policies and procedures
  2. or, put up a notice that says that the company rules, policies and procedures can be viewed in the manager’s office, or the HR department, or on the server etc – whatever is the most practical for you

I found that if you do one of the above, it was very hard for an employee to argue that he or she had no idea about a certain rule, policy or procedure. They had access (reasonable) and it was in their best interest to be acquainted with these. 

If you update your policies and procedures – ensure you inform your staff of same.There is also the unspoken rule – remember that past custom and practice has got you covered.So, without delay, fix this and you will be well on your way to ensuring team cohesion, a team that knows the rules and a team that respects and abides by same.