Business is Business – Take it Personally

To anyone who thinks that I am referring to something they said or did, be aware that the incident triggering this article did not, in fact, involve me in any way. A story was told to me in which some of the topics in this article were brought up, and I therefore decided to write this.

It’s been a crazy week, and not just for me, but for many of the people with whom I have contact with on a daily basis. One of the common themes of this week made me think of a saying: Business is business.

Business is Business

Courtesy of T-KONI on Flickr.com

I suppose what that saying is to be interpreted as is that when it comes to business, it’s not about the people involved. What matters is the context and the content – the participants, however, can be swapped around without any implications (okay, maybe not, but you get the point). We’re told not to take such things personally – it’s about business.

In reality, few people can actually deal with business this way. At some level, there is still personality involved – and there needs to be. A motivated and driven person will interact differently than someone complacent. If you compare two such people in similar situations (professional of course) you will see them act differently. The personality of the people involved is what makes and breaks deals.

What this also means is that what is said in a professional environment will ultimately be taken personally. Whether that impacts the context is not relevant – regardless, it has had an effect on the two (or more) people involved and their ability to interact.

For this reason, it is crucial that despite the saying that business is business, one needs to be cognizant of the potential ramifications of the things they say, and how they might be perceived by someone else. This is the reason that we are also told to act like professionals – always be polite (even, or especially, when we don’t want to), always stick to the subject at hand (even if the person did talk about you at the water cooler last week), always give the benefit of the doubt.