Business is deeply personal. We spend a good portion of our lives working, thinking about work, worrying about work. How can we not be emotionally invested in a thing in which we take such great pride? For many of us, our career is a big part of our identity. Let’s also not forget work is what monetarily controls our ability to have a personal life. The ties between business and personal are so intertwined it’s not fathomable to completely compartmentalize the two.
But how many times have we heard the saying “it’s not personal, it’s business” or have someone tell us to not take something personally? Too many for my taste because guess what – it is personal, whether you like it or not. We are people; sentient beings. Unless you’re in business with robots, it's imperative to realize that actions and words have real consequences that not only affect your business but the people surrounding it.
Yes, businesses must make difficult decisions based on financial factors; completely agree. But how you execute those decisions and how you communicate is everything. Take a minute before acting and remember your clients, staff, and business partners are all people, first and foremost. Coming off as heartless is going to win you no points and only make the situation worse for everyone.
Having compassion and empathy can sincerely save a crappy situation. Soften the blow when delivering bad news, put yourself in the other person's shoes, think of how you can help. Any or all of these things surely will bring people emotionally together, even if they disagree or part ways.
Being cognizant of your impact on other people may or may not directly tie to profits but likely directly correlates with your moral compass and emotional intelligence, which has actually been proven to influence long-term business success. Plus some of my best friends are people I've met in business, former colleagues, and even competitors! We're all in this together. Lighting someone else's path will only brighten your own...and the reverse is true as well.
People make investments in ideas and businesses, but I believe people ultimately invest in other people. If you don’t approach business with a personal touch, you’re missing the boat of what life is all about and probably leaving money on the table.
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou