Wednesday, October 7th, 2015 | 8 min read
Frequently I hear the excuse that it is just business, and that it’s not personal, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Business IS personal. It is personal for your customers, and it is personal for your employees. I would also suggest that business decisions that impact either your employees or customers are personal, too. The decision is being made by a person or group of people for a reason, and that reason is personal to them. When increasing fees, the group making that decision is trying to impress shareholders or their bosses. They are making a personal decision. This same decision is also personal for your customers. In business, the reality is that our decisions are personal, and they may conflict with others.
We like to come up with excuses when decisions may not be popular with one party or another, but we strive to avoid the conflict – so we deflect. This happens regularly in business. Every decision we make is personal in one way or another, and it is about time we are honest about that and the reasons for the decision. Recently, I spoke about bringing humanity back to business at the Hubspot Inbound 2015 Conference in Boston, and I want to take a moment to share some of my thoughts on the topic.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I have been reflecting on my own career and what my next steps look like. Over the years I have thought long and hard about corporate culture and ways to change it. Back in 2008 when I started @ComcastCares, there was something special about each of the brands on Twitter. We knew the people behind the brand. They were one of us. It was me tweeting helping people, and the community knew that and respected it. As we grew the team, each new member had their own profile and they were allowed to be themselves building relationships with customers. It was what service was always meant to be: a relationship hub.
In the early days of social media, we often talked about how the web was showing the good and bad for brands. It was exposing your brand for what it really is. It was the culture of the company. As time went on, social media shifted more toward marketing, but as you studied these brands you really found the true aspects of the company regardless of what they had to say. Often ideas were oversold to companies benefiting the seller and not the company itself. Over time, companies began to shift to customer experience as the answer to their woes. This too has been oversold to business leaders as opposed to building the culture throughout. The result has been building another fiefdom within the organization. All this is to benefit certain individuals as opposed to the company as a whole. These are all personal decisions we make in how we take responsibility.
We strive to take the human emotion out of business, but in my view it is human emotion that makes business and each one of us the people we are. The future of business is celebrating the human factor, beyond things like greed and narcissism and moving on to more artistic aspects that make us so special and connect to one another. So the next time someone tells you, “it’s just business, not personal,” tell them that everything is personal to someone and you celebrate that fact.
Acceptance – When employees give up on something, also known as “it is what it is.”
Affection – Call HR.
Aggression – We like to think this is not in business, but I would suggest it is highly prevalent as people seek advancement in their careers.
Ambivalence – Employees who give up on advancing their own ideas, or better stated, “I don’t give a rat’s a**.”
Anxiety – We see this way too often, but we strive never to show it.
Boredom – I have been in those meetings too! We have all been there, right?
Compassion – Rarely seen but so very special.
Confusion – No comment.
Contempt – *careful* Do not confuse with questions striving to learn more or trying to advance an idea.
Depression – I wonder how often this is caused by workplace behavior.
Doubt – Questioning yourself due to someone’s insecurities other than your own.
Ecstasy – Sometimes I think people take this to get by. Oh wait, that is not the emotion, that is the drug. We do see this emotion usually when someone has great success.
Empathy – Seldom seen in business but one that I like to celebrate when I see it. Some of the best leaders I have ever known have shown deep empathy for customers and employees.
Envy – Commonplace in big business, especially when someone else is recognized or celebrated.
Embarrassment – Seems to happen when someone is caught doing something, but not even thought about when they are doing it.
Forgiveness – Not seen enough. We like to blame and fire instead of celebrating failures or striving to learn from them.
Frustration – This is why we gave you stress balls with the company logo!
Gratitude – Rarely seen. A thank you goes a long way!
Guilt – When caught for doing the wrong thing!
Hatred – Very commonly directed in the same manner as envy, but sometimes also directed to competitors or people who speak out against the company.
Hope – We all love to hope and dream about our success, at least until it is squashed by someone else.
Horror – The worst meetings to be a part of!
Hostility – The time you had to tell your boss something they did not want to hear! Just kidding, most bosses aren’t hostile, but we all know some who are.
Homesickness – Countless times in the office. Wouldn’t you rather be home right now?
Hunger – The feeling after back to back meetings with no break in sight.
Hysteria – When you must get that deck done for that meeting with the top brass! You know that meeting where you are redoing the same deck thousands of times just because your boss is nervous.
Loneliness – That moment shortly after everything seemed to go wrong and you feel isolated in your office contemplating it.
Love – Sometimes celebrated yet other times it is a call to HR.
Paranoia – This is not at every organization, but often is around organization with regular layoffs or after a failure when a leader is looking to place blame.
Pity – There are leaders who think they pity lower level personnel, but what they do not realize it is the lower level personnel who truly pity the leader.
Pleasure – When proven right or when there is success to be celebrated.
Pride – We like to think there is pride in what we do, but often that is confused with relief.
Remorse – Our legal department said you cannot show this.
There are many emotions that we see every day in business. What are some other emotions and how do you see them in business?
This post was originally published on LinkedIn on September 9th, 2015.
About the Author: Frank Eliason is the EVP, Head of US Digital and Customer Experience for Zeno Group. He is also the author of @YourService (Wiley, 2012), and a leader in Customer Experience, Marketing, and Social Media. You can follow him on Twitter here: @FrankEliason.
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