Wednesday, February 1, 2012

It's Personal. It's Business.

Early in my career, I was determined to climb the corporate ladder.  I read countless books and sought out every mentor I could find.  I learned a lot.  I also picked up some terrible advice. 

Years later, a former colleague mentioned that when we worked together, I always turned down opportunities to go to lunch.  I didn’t recall turning down lunches, but knew immediately why I had.  A book I read said women in the workplace should avoid being overly social to be taken seriously.  So, I put my head down and made work my top priority, no matter what.  In the process, I alienated a colleague.  It was nothing personal.  It was business!

Work certainly should have been my priority at the office.  However, I made a mistake in not recognizing just how personal business is, and should be!

People decide whether or not to buy our products, support our initiatives, or build team morale.  How we treat clients either brings them back or drives them away.  Whether we’re dealing with colleagues, clients, or vendors, people and our relationships with them make things happen.  More important still, as people move, change jobs, and get promoted, they will most surely cross our paths again. Although goals, budgets, and profits often become a primary focus, strong relationships with people help us do business better.

I’m not sure who said it first, but whether it was Donald Trump or the Godfather, the idea that “it’s nothing personal, it’s just business” is absurd.

Business is always personal.

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