Playing Rules, Shmlaying Rules

Tali Blecher

Tali Blecher

In my brain, corporate mission statements and ‘Our Values’ documents occupy the same neighbourhood as these:


Don’t get me wrong: I’m a fan of values statements when they work. Defining success is good. Getting your staff on board with that definition is also good.

But rarely do those good intentions translate into tangible results for a company or its people. Usually, an ‘Our Values’ document is the product of an externally-run corporate workshop featuring awkward icebreaker games, personality tests and awful tea served in polystyrene cups. The document goes nowhere. 

In 2023, By George Legal turned seven (18 in human years). It was time for us to work out what makes this ragtag bunch of professionals ‘By George’ and to articulate some norms by which to live and work by.

Enter business coach Jamie Cunningham of SalesUP. We’ve benefited from Jamie’s expertise for several years. Last August, we invited him to chair our team retreat out in Kilmore. This was unlike any team retreat I’d ever participated in – it was effective. It produced concrete outcomes that have had a lasting impact on the way we work. Yes, there were icebreaker games and personality tests. But they weren’t the usual ones. I have to admit, they contributed to the day.

One of the unique things about Jamie is that he can get quickly a group of differently-wired individuals on the same page. Over several hours and with Jamie’s steady guidance, we came up with a list of ten principles that define who we are and what we’re about as a firm. We call these our Playing Rules.

The process that Jamie helped facilitate didn’t end when we mounted our Playing Rules on our office wall. We’re disciplined about living and breathing them.

Take a read through the list. There’s not an Empowerment or Leadership to be found. No vague entreaty to Pursue Excellence, Maintain High Standards or Embrace Diversity. Each of our 10 playing rules is concrete, actionable and memorable.

Taken together, they define who we are and serve as our North Star.

Share Post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin