1-330-777-0094
[email protected]

19 Jul 2010

Business is Personal and Why There’s No Way Around It

How many times have you heard, “This isn’t personal, it’s business”? A key assumption underlying an intuitive approach is that everything people do, think or say says something about them. In short, everything is personal. That means business is personal too. It says much about a person.

Why Business is a Great Personality Test

As it is, business is an excellent way to assess personalities. The financial tradeoff it poses makes it so. It stresses people. That stress opens a window into people that is much deeper than otherwise possible.

That stress shows itself so clearly when we look at another common business slogan, “Business, it’s all about relationships.” Reconciling the two sums up this stress. The one slogan, “It isn’t personal,” exists as a valve to relieve the anxiety of knowing one just violated a relationship.

Business is personal because shows people's personal relationship to money.

Two common but contradictory business slogans show why there is no way around it, business is personal.

Why Business is Personal

What does this say about personalities? It’s not hard to read. Money is more important than that relationship. Money is more personal to him than the relationship is. When he says, “it isn’t personal,” it is personal. It’s like saying, “Trust me.” In both cases, the opposite is true.

“It isn’t personal” is a form of protesting too much. It’s the rationale he chose to satisfy getting what he wants, the money. Also, the slogan numbs any anxiety he has about his personal relationship to money. There’s no way around it. Business is personal.

Moreover, since this rationale is so accepted in business, he uses it to try to keep or heal the relationship he just violated. Still, we can use that relationship to assess his personal relationship with money. What is he willing to violate, abuse or give up to have the money he covets?

Context Still Matters Though

When we hear the “it isn’t personal” slogan, we can’t blindly affix any emotions to it. Context still matters. Family concerns might exist. Other relationships might be at stake. Health can play a big role too.

Yet, we can learn much about a personality here too. Why not be forthright? State the real reasons for choosing money over a relationship. Yes, there can be reasons here too. However, they can help us assess the personality and value she places on the relationship.

All of this says something about the person, something very personal. Thus, it remains true. Business is personal. We can’t escape it. So, when they say, “it isn’t personal,” they are really saying money is very personal to them.

2 Responses

  1. Jeannette Marshall

    Particularly enjoyed this insight. It’s one of those things that many of us may understand instinctively but not realize it fully. In truth, if someone has said “this isn’t personal, it’s business” it was most likely because they were taking it personally. Monetarily or not. Great post! Enjoyed reading.

  2. As I was reading your post, I thought of an article I read this week discussing how Americans are often viewed by the British and others as doing business very impersonally.

Leave a Reply