Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Rule 42: Know the legalities of your industry


By on 10:00
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Famous PR Consultant & Politician, Tokunbo Modupe of TPT  


Is your company breaking any laws?  Are you breaking any laws?  Do you know the legalities of your industry?
I once worked for an organization who were, initially, remarkably above board.  They prided themselves on being a standard setter, a new thing in the industry. 
After a few years, they suddenly changed direction and lost the Jekyll to gain the Hyde.  It was quite bizarre and I couldn’t see why it happened.  Senior board members hadn’t changed that much and circumstances didn’t seem to demand it – we weren’t fighting for our lives here.  But suddenly I found myself working for a crooked and corrupt company.  What to do?  I turned a blind eye for a while, but eventually I too was asked to participate in the law breaking.  It was at that point I left.  I kept my honour and reputation and went to work for the opposition, their rivals.  Once there, I was asked about my old company and what it got up to, but I wouldn’t give any information that would allow my new bosses to gain benefit over my old company. I don’t know why, but it seemed honorable to sit on what I knew.  I was happy to talk about the way they did business, just so long as it didn’t spill over into this area of legalities.

“If you choose to break the law that’s one thing, but how awful it would be if you ended up in clink because you didn’t know.  Better to be an intelligent convict than a stupid one”

A few years later I found myself working for a company that was taken over by my old corrupt bunch.  But now they had been caught, punished and cleaned up their act.  Did I want to work for them again?  Not particularly.  But I did have an interview with a senior director who said he was happy to have me on board – ‘At least you know how to keep your mouth shut’, he said.  The leopard still seemed a bit spotty to me and I walked.

So, how clean is your industry?  Your company?  You have to know what you might be asked to do and what is legal and what isn’t.  Some industries have incredibly minute and trivial laws that you can run foul of almost without realizing it. But realize it you must.  To be a Rules Player you have to be cleaner than clean, above suspicion and never allow yourself to be scapegoat into anything.  If they are looking for a sucker make sure it ain’t you.  Make sure you stay clearly this side of the line and don’t stray over it accidentally.

If you choose to break the law that’s one thing, but how awful it would be if you ended up in clink because you didn’t know.  Better to be an intelligent convict than a stupid one – ‘But I didn’t know’, has never been an effective defense.
(Excerpts from THE RULES OF WORK by Richard Templer Read “How to set personal standards” from The Rules tomorrow on Asabeafrika)

Rule-to-Work Series
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