‘It’s just business’ – it’s a phrase we hear all the time. In the workplace, on TV, in the movies: ‘Just business’ is usually preceded by the phrase ‘It’s nothing personal’ and is usually followed by some form of apology or condolence, because when you tell someone ‘it’s just business’ you usually aren’t dealing on the best of terms.

I’ve been thinking about the idea of business being just that, business. Can you ever engage in business practices and negotiations without having some sort of emotional or ‘human’ attachment? Is the corporate world really that cold and disconnected from consumers? There is a difference between getting what you need, and getting what you need without reservations. In the real world, success is measured by results – without results, how would we know whether a business or organization was successful? Well, we wouldn’t. But is it ALL about results?

In my (limited) experience in the workforce, I have recognized two generalized ‘types’ of business-philosophy:

Philosophy A – Result Driven: This is the type of person who can maintain, embrace, and thrive with the ‘just business’ mindset. Get the job done, produce outstanding results, report success to clients and partners with clear objective numbers, figures, etc. When dealing with vendors, clients, and other partners – this type of person is primarily focused on getting the job done, no matter what, wanting everything for (essentially) nothing. Maintaining well-rounded ‘give and take’ business relationships/partnerships takes a back seat to doing what has to be done. Results and successes may be great, profits will be clearly defined, even if relationships are damaged and reputation is tarnished.

Philosophy B – Relationship Driven: This person focuses on business relationships. Forming valuable and long lasting relationships, and once they have established partnerships making an above-and-beyond effort to maintaining and nurturing them. This person has a win-win mindset, wanting to do what is best for both parties as much as possible. When an issue arises, this person leans toward the side of compromise, giving constructive criticism and valuable feedback rather than making demands and ultimatums. Typically, this person embraces a more entrepreneurial mindset, and focuses on establishing and preserving lasting connections to their clients, partners, and overall audience.

What philosophy do you find yourself relating with? I have labeled these two philosophies as extreme polar opposites, and I do think there can be a happy marriage between the two. Personally, I believe there must be a balance in order to organize and run a successful long-term business. I have trouble buying in to the ‘just business’ mindset– there has to be some incorporation of both of these philosophies for me (personally) to remain sane, it’s just my human nature. Something to ponder: When you look around at businesses that have been successful through the test of time, these major corporations and conglomerates, they may very well lean more toward Philosophy A – but think about a company or organization that you truly respect. How is it run? Think about the connection you have with that company. Most likely – it’s a business that has taken the time to connect and form an attachment with its partners, audience, and consumers, even if growth and success is achieved at a much slower rate.

This isn’t meant to come across as a jab to ‘Corporate America’. This is not me shouting out, “Damn the Man!” I realize these larger corporations are absolutely essential to a successful economic environment. And I understand that some embrace and thrive in that environment. Looking back at the issue of work-life balance, many are more than comfortable having a clear distinction between their personal and professional lives, and have no problem detaching themselves emotionally from daily business interactions. Others cannot help but integrate the two into one, at least on some level. Again, it comes down to a core philosophy, both on a personal and professional level. And while one can be molded or trained to act a certain way, an individuals own belief system typically is unflappable.

We are observing a clear shift within the Gen-Y community toward a more entrepreneurial way of thinking – and we are seeing this philosophy shift result in small business’s thriving, while large corporations are continuing to drop deeper into the red. Why are these entrepreneurs and small businesses successful? It’s comes down to a simple scientific business formula:

CwC (Connect with Consumers) + RtB (Give them Reason to Buy) = $$$ (Lots of Money)

Companies that are able to connect with their consumers and provide them with reasons to support and buy will be successful. This formula holds true across virtually every business and media platform (more on that in a future post). In the infamous words of John Lennon, ‘All you need is love, love is all you need’. Businesses that take the time to ‘show the love’ to their staff, their business partners, and their consumer audience are thriving, and will continue to thrive, even in a less-than-stellar economy.

Join the conversation! 9 Comments

  1. I find that 99.99% of the time I fit into category B. But every once in a blue moon, there comes a time where I need to get something done and damn the expense or how many knecks I have to step on to get my objective done.

    Reply
  2. With all of the corporations out there, leaning towards A- concerned only with making a profit and not getting to know 1/4 of the employees, it can be discouraging. But the funny thing is recently, in this economy the companies that are thriving are the ones that have leaned more towards B, and really cared about their employees and customers (Zappos, Google, Amazon). Those are the customers and employees that are going to stick it out and still work/buy in the hard times, because the company has always supported and encouraged them. Sounds very “after school special” but if you ask me who I'm going to work the hardest for and produce the best results- it's for a company and boss who are generally concerned about the well-being of its employees.

    Reply
  3. I think a lot of larger companies that grew to dominate a particular industry lose sight of cultural needs and the relationships that have gotten them to where they are. I just read an article in Business Week about the auto industry and how a shift to the Google mindset could save them from their current crisis. Companies like Google, or “Philosophy B” have developed relationships with consumers despite the fact that they are a huge company. While they operate in two different industries, auto makers currently are under the mindset that they know all and don't need any of the ideas consumers might have to offer which goes back to your simple scientific business formula, which I feel a lot of “Philosophy A” companies are neglecting. Bravo on your work! Go B!

    Reply
  4. @Tim – It all comes down to balancing the two – you don't want to solely focus on relationships and be a pushover when it comes to making decisions – people will take advantage of you. Every once in a while, a neck has to be broken to appease the masses. Thanks for checking out the blog!

    @Ashley – It is discouraging sometimes to see how the corporations and larger organizations operate, but as you said, I think the dawn is breaking for companies that are connecting with their consumers and building strong bonds and partnerships from within. You point out some great companies that are always at the top of the customer service food chain. 'Being nice' does sound a little cheesy, but it's the simplest way you can explain the phenomenon of small businesses thriving in this poor economy. It's all about involvement and establishing connections.

    @LV – I agree 100%. Look at mission statements companies develop early on – they almost always focus on connecting with and providing outstanding service to their customers. But once the money starts rolling in and a company grows, you start to see a disconnect from the 'little people' – and hey, we are the people that got them there in the first place. It's all about give and take, and being aware of the market, customer needs and wants, and taking feedback and criticism and adapting a business to meet those consumer demands, but also going above and beyond to establish that personal connection. Building relationships and giving a reason to buy spells out big profits in the long run.

    Reply
  5. Matt! You know, I had this one job where whenever they would be particularly critical or just plain rude, my supervisor would say, “But don't take it personally.”

    To me, that's like kicking someone in the face and saying, “Oh, but don't get physically hurt over that.”

    Now, I'm not going to go cry in a corner when I get criticized, but when it's unwarranted and presented in a malicious or condescending manner, then I'm going to get pissed off.

    People who say “it's just business” haven't really ever experienced the fulfillment and success that goes along with a business that is run with people who have hearts and compassion. It's a much better environment. I've been thankful to have experienced quite a few businesses run this way, so now I have a standard for myself. Any business that is cutthroat or incredibly insensitive, well, I don't want to work for them.

    Reply
  6. @Jamie – Good thoughts. I have a standard for myself and I have yet to experience working with a company with businesses run in the way you describe. I just use some common sense and know that while pushing people around might get you the monetary results you are looking for; in the end it isn't going to be fulfilling and advantageous to the business over the long haul.

    Relationships are the foundation; it's where you have to start from. But it's equally important to remember and value those relationships once your company has 'made it' so to speak. Don't forget the horse that brought you to the race!

    Reply
  7. @Tim – It all comes down to balancing the two – you don't want to solely focus on relationships and be a pushover when it comes to making decisions – people will take advantage of you. Every once in a while, a neck has to be broken to appease the masses. Thanks for checking out the blog!

    @Ashley – It is discouraging sometimes to see how the corporations and larger organizations operate, but as you said, I think the dawn is breaking for companies that are connecting with their consumers and building strong bonds and partnerships from within. You point out some great companies that are always at the top of the customer service food chain. 'Being nice' does sound a little cheesy, but it's the simplest way you can explain the phenomenon of small businesses thriving in this poor economy. It's all about involvement and establishing connections.

    @LV – I agree 100%. Look at mission statements companies develop early on – they almost always focus on connecting with and providing outstanding service to their customers. But once the money starts rolling in and a company grows, you start to see a disconnect from the 'little people' – and hey, we are the people that got them there in the first place. It's all about give and take, and being aware of the market, customer needs and wants, and taking feedback and criticism and adapting a business to meet those consumer demands, but also going above and beyond to establish that personal connection. Building relationships and giving a reason to buy spells out big profits in the long run.

    Reply
  8. Matt! You know, I had this one job where whenever they would be particularly critical or just plain rude, my supervisor would say, “But don't take it personally.”

    To me, that's like kicking someone in the face and saying, “Oh, but don't get physically hurt over that.”

    Now, I'm not going to go cry in a corner when I get criticized, but when it's unwarranted and presented in a malicious or condescending manner, then I'm going to get pissed off.

    People who say “it's just business” haven't really ever experienced the fulfillment and success that goes along with a business that is run with people who have hearts and compassion. It's a much better environment. I've been thankful to have experienced quite a few businesses run this way, so now I have a standard for myself. Any business that is cutthroat or incredibly insensitive, well, I don't want to work for them.

    Reply
  9. @Jamie – Good thoughts. I have a standard for myself and I have yet to experience working with a company with businesses run in the way you describe. I just use some common sense and know that while pushing people around might get you the monetary results you are looking for; in the end it isn't going to be fulfilling and advantageous to the business over the long haul.

    Relationships are the foundation; it's where you have to start from. But it's equally important to remember and value those relationships once your company has 'made it' so to speak. Don't forget the horse that brought you to the race!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

About Matt Cheuvront

I empower folks to do the work they want to do and live the life they want to live. Connect on Twitter or check out the work I'm doing at Proof.

Category

Business, Philosophy

Tags

, , , , , , ,