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Thursday, September 17, 2020

Executive Education

NOTHING PERSONAL…IT’S JUST BUSINESS

Show of hands, who has heard this before?  While I can’t actually see you, I’m going to take a guess that you raised your hand!  I’m here to dig a giant hole and bury this outdated concept once and for all!  All business is personal, it has to be.

Do you want the best talent, do you want to grow your business, do you want a loyal client base, do you want the best products and services?  Again, I can’t see you, but I’m guessing you are shaking your head, ‘yes’!  If true, you better start taking it personal, as business touches every part of our lives, BUSINESS IS ABSOLUTELY PERSONAL.

PASSION = LOYALTY

There’s a personal connection to the business from the moment a jobseeker clicks the ‘Apply’ button.  Candidates are constantly told to describe their ‘Why’ in a cover letter.  Offer their personal reasons for why they are pursuing the role in an effort to relay their level of passion to set themselves apart.  Often times, this can get incredibly personal, from ridding the world of a scourge that took the life of a loved one, to fulfilling a life-long dream or career aspiration.

Whatever the case, hiring the best candidate for any position is the one who is most passionate about that position.  When someone considers it their life’s purpose to come work for you and your business, that person will be the greatest and most loyal employee you will ever have.  This is, assuming of course, the workplace culture that you have installed is conducive to positivity, productivity and a level of employee happiness and satisfaction that level of passion deserves.  Which leads me to…

THE CULTURE

The workplace culture and your health are undeniably intertwined.  What could be more personal that your health?  No much.  According to a recent article in Occupational Health & Safety Magazine, “Work-related stress affects 83 percent of employees, yet many companies are not treating this as a health issue.” and “Too much stress can be deeply damaging to a person’s health.”  As a business, what are you doing to alleviate your employees stress levels?

Study after study shows that creating an environment of support, positivity and lowering stress increase levels of production and quality of products and services.  Allowing for frequent breaks, encouraging exercise during the day, creating a fun work atmosphere are just a few ways to lower stress levels at work.  However, and maybe most important – offering MORE and insisting employees use their earned vacation!  According to an article published in 20SomethingFinance titled, “The U.S. is the Most Overworked Developed Nation in the World”,

“In every country included except Canada and Japan (and the U.S., which averages 13 days/per year), workers get at least 20 paid vacation days.  In France and Finland, they get 30 – an entire month off, paid, every year.”  A sad statistic indeed for workers in the US and no doubt contributing to stress levels in the workplace.  Keep in mind, we all bring our personal lives to work with us, and we all bring our work lives home to our families.  Leadership needs to recognize this, and their management styles need to be front and center with efforts to make a real difference in the personal lives of their most important resource…people.

WANT THE BIG SALE…GET PERSONAL

Long dead are the days of plaid sport coats and questions like, “what do I have to do to get you into….today?!”  Any good salesperson knows that to be successful in today’s market, it’s all about the relationship.  Trust sells…not fast-talk.  In my nearly 17 years of sales, not once did I walk into someone’s office looking to make a sale.  I walked in looking to build a relationship, one based on trust and friendship.  Small talk, family, how many balls you lost on the golf course over the weekend!  Real people having a real conversation and getting personal, BUT, not too personal.  There is a line…don’t cross it!

You want partnerships in your business that stand the test of time and crisis, or when your rookie sales rep. makes a promise nobody can deliver!  Business partnerships that can only happen when you have a personal relationship with those you do business with.  I still have friends that were clients of mine from 15 years ago.  How?  I made sure they could trust me first by building that relationship.  Personal?  You bet!  Worth it?  No question about it!

IT’S A FAMILY AFFAIR

Most of us spend 8 hours a day, 5 days per week, 52 weeks per year and over the course of a 65-year career, 16,900 days at work.  For some, that’s a lot more time than we spend with our own families, as sad as that may sound.  I’ve often referred to those I’ve worked with as my ‘work family’, and why not?  We have similar goals, we eat together, travel together, party together, sometimes sleep together…!  It truly is like family and that’s pretty damn personal!

Care for your teams and people like family, and I can all but promise you that they will care for you and your business just like family as well.  They will do whatever it takes to ensure that it grows, its nurtured, its reputation is never tarnished, it’s products and services are the very best!  When you need one of your ‘family member’ to do the extraordinary, they will be there to support you, no questions asked!

BUSINESS IS PERSONAL

So, the next time someone says to you, ‘nothing personal, it’s just business’…take it personal!  There’s no such thing as ‘it’s just business’.  Everything we do at work, every moment we are there, every interaction we have, affects us in a very personal way.  How your business decides to handle that will ultimately determine its future success.

My ‘personal’ recommendation – create a workplace environment where passion is encouraged and recognized.  Stress is acknowledged and more importantly, alleviated by all means necessary.  Build as many personal relationships and partnerships for the long-term success of your business.  And by all means, come to realize that you are one big ‘work family’, because…its personal!


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Ryan Waters
Ryan Waters is a business management consultant at Seen It All Consulting. Ryan specialises in topics including business transformation, executive leadership, change management, talent and performance management. Ryan Waters is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine.