Four days of watching ball games in elite tournament play left me with some revealing insight into the minds of coaches and players alike. What I saw can be directly applied to your business and employee morale building. Wow!  On and off the field, professionalism means the same thing as it does in business. Conduct and behavior go hand in hand with professionalism.  Expectations and follow-through are key ingredients to achieving a team atmosphere where “me” is gone and “we” is put into play.

When the coach instructs and a few disregard, what’s the next step? When the business owner sets policy and a few disregard, what’s the next step? Do you ignore the situation? Do you address it in public? Do you handle in private?  What’s the best course of action? Or is the best course “no action”?

The answers to these questions will determine the course of team work and corporate culture for your company.  How hard is it to toss a player from the game when they have broken a “rule”? How hard is it to terminate an employee when a policy has been ignored?   What choice do you have really?

Know that the longer you ignore poor behavior or policy breaking, the more difficult time you will have maintaining control of your employees or team.  When you say “no tardiness without a call” you must mean it enough to take action when it happens.  Even if it is your best employee.

Here’s an example I recently saw on the ball field: the coaches instructed that expected behavior was to not throw a bat when striking out or kick the dirt when an error was made.  Not allowed he said and there would be consequences.  In the first 3 innings, both examples happened 4 times by the same 2 players.  What action was taken?  NONE.  So what’s the message to the rest of the team?  It’s ok to throw a bat and kick the dirt.  AND more importantly, the coach doesn’t mean what he says.  He’s just lost his credibility by doing nothing.

When you enable poor behavior and disgard for your policies, you have opened the door to uncontrolled chaos and an atmosphere that will drive away the best of employees.  Setting an example often is not easy to do but if you are to have a productive, effective team, everyone must play by the same rules or expect a group of “me’s” instead of “we’s”.  Say what you mean and mean what you say and then follow through!