Monday, June 13, 2016

All Business Is Personal

One of the most famous lines in all the great gangsters movies is usually said before someone gets whacked (killed).  Right before the trigger is pulled, the antagonist says, "This isn't personal kid, just business..."  Directly afterwards you heard the gun go off (BLAM!) and see the blood and gore spray.

Just thinking about that type of scene I've always laughed at the hypocrisy of that statement.  When someone kills you, what could be more personal?  While carrying out a "hit" on somebody may indeed be a business transaction (for the hit man) the end result ends up being extremely personal.

In the world of business we rarely deal with issues of life and death.  No, our daily struggles are more mundane concerns about deadlines, deliverables, presentations, and the such.  Yet, how many of us fall into the trap of believing that the things we do and the way we treat and interact with people is "just business"?  If you've ever laid someone off or been laid off yourself, did you feel emotionally detached from the situation?  Odds are that whatever side you were one, the experience felt very personal.

Consider something if you will.  When you receive your paycheck, whether it comes as a paper form or simply an electronic deposit, do you believe that the "company" just paid you?  Most people believe exactly that, but nothing could be further from the truth.  The reality is that every time you get paid it is because of several factors:

  1. A specific person set and approved your particular compensation
  2. Another person made sure that your information was correctly recorded into whatever payroll system your company uses
  3. Yet another individual took the responsibility to authorize ("sign") your check
  4. Someone made sure that your money was correctly delivered to you
Not everyone gets paid in exactly the same way but the point still stands.  Your company did not just pay you - some individual or group of people did it.

Everything we do in our daily work is personal to someone.  For example, the work that you do in your role either contributes or detracts from your own sense of satisfaction or fulfillment.  Each assignment that you do for somebody else affects them in many ways from how they feel about you to how successful he or she can be in their career.  Every customer with whom you interact takes your actions personally.  If you've ever received a speeding ticket you will remember positively or negatively how the police officer treated you.  If you were disrespectful to officer that will also be remembered as will your politeness if you maintained decorum.

The ultimate point of this particular blog is to help you both understand and manage self awareness.  People who are self aware get tuned into the subtleties of how even the smallest actions reflect upon a person.  Time and again you will notice that the most successful people in all walks of life are those that understand the concept that everything is personal.  

Certain cultures are more tuned into this concept than others.  Having travel the (entire) world, I can speak from experience.  In Asia, the success of almost every business situation in which I was involved was determined by small things.  Did I have a personal connection to my counterpart across the table?  Did I know about his life, his family, his interests?  What was my connection to community where I was trying to do business?  Did I conduct myself with decorum?

I have many examples that I could give not only from Asia, but South America, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.  That's not necessary, though, because you get the point.  (All my readers are highly intelligent and intuitive!)

If you want to be successful in business always, always remember to be self aware.  It's those people who can make business personal that always achieve the most success.  Think about it and you'll know it's true.