I’ve always felt that when it comes to the game of life and we reach the pearly gates and start totting up the scores, it’s not the person with the most money but the one with the best stories that wins.

The thing I love about Ann Summers is that there’s never a dull moment; just ask anyone who works here and we’ll always have a new anecdote to share.

Courting a little controversy, making a little mischief and having fun is part and parcel of a company culture that encourages staff to challenge the norm, make decisions quickly and act like entrepreneurs.

This is a lot easier to do in small firms when everyone knows everybody else and personal relationships and trust are strong. The tricky bit happens when your business grows to a size where it’s not possible for everyone to know each other personally.

In most instances, the instincts of your staff will be profitable ones

At this point most companies typically resort to formalising the fun in an HR document that sets the parameters of what’s expected and what’s not.

The problem is that these documents tend to focus on the things you can’t do more than the things you can, which makes the company appear very dull indeed. And because these tomes tend to come from HR, it makes them sound dull too, which is very unfair.

Expenses are a typical example of one of these policies. A senior executive at one company I know once told me that six people were involved in the sign-off procedure for expenses. Rather radically, and not without protest from some in the finance department, they decided that everyone would sign off their own expenses. The doubters felt this would give carte blanche to the chancers and cheats. The outcome? Nothing changed. Expenses claimed remained the same and five people could devote their time to growing the business.

In most instances, the instincts of your staff will be profitable ones but even if they’re not, as long as they’re constantly pushing the boundaries, you’ll end up with a great tale to tell and you’ll have created a culture where everyone loves working.