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Michael E. Angier

By Michael Angier

You Bet it's Personal—It's Business!

Recently, I heard the president of a company say, "It's not personal, it's just business." The phrase had about the same warmth and comfort as when it was uttered in "The Godfather"—right after someone was killed.

Business is all about relationships and relationships ARE personal. To dismiss the importance of personal relationships with the excuse that it's "just business" is usually a cop-out. It's old-school and it lacks integrity.

Of course, there are times when we have to make difficult business decisions which adversely affect people. But we're far better off to acknowledge that it's personal.

A World Class Business demands close working relationships. They don't have to be super-intimate, but they do have to be honest and open.

Some people are reluctant to have close relationships with subordinates or supervisors in order to avoid uncomfortable and/or painful situations. But I think a world class company is one that makes the tough decisions fully cognizant of how business decisions affect people. It's ALL personal.

When I heard that CEO say "It's not personal, it's just business," it was a good indicator of how little she valued good relationships. She may have believed she could separate business from friendship, but I don't think most people can—or should.

A company's bottom line is determined by its FRONT line. People are the most valuable assets, and good stewardship requires that we treat every single person as just that—a PERSON. They're not a commodity, regardless of the fact that many companies treat them as such.

Yes, it IS personal—it's business. And in my opinion, it SHOULD be.

Action Point
Commit to developing and nurturing good relationships with everyone in your company. Take a genuine interest in them, and you'll find them doing likewise. Enemies never help you—friends do. Don't let your judgments of anyone stand in the way of your own, or your organization's success.

And remember, people don't care how much you know unless they know how much you care.





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Last Updated 03/23/2005