Making Business Personalby Kim Sokolnicki on June 26, 2012
Do you know what drives me crazy? When people say, “It’s not personal, it’s just business.” Wonder why? Because it’s people who are at the core of every company. How could it not be personal?
People are employed at companies and people support companies as consumers. It’s personal when a mother of three loses her job or when a man gets sick and can’t afford treatment because his company doesn’t offer it. It’s personal when a manufacturing defect causes the brakes on your car to fail on you when you need them, and it’s personal when the pollution from the local coal plant gives you asthma. When Tom Hanks told Meg Ryan “It’s not personal, it’s just business” in the film You’ve Got Mail, I almost threw my dial-up computer through my TV. In that movie, Meg Ryan’s character loses her small family-owned business because a mega-chain competitor moves into their neighborhood. The outcome of that move was definitely personal.
It’s about time that we accept the fact that business is personal. Even the Supreme Court thinks so! We need to stop thinking that business operates in a separate silo and begin working on integrating human values back into business.
Recently I attend the Reinvent Business Hackathon to do just that. It was a two-day gathering of designers, business professionals, technologists and storytellers with the mission of trying to bring humanity back to business — to ensure business is personal.
Most of the teams came up with solutions either to engage employees or inform and empower consumers. Not surprisingly, at Saatchi & Saatchi S those are the two of the ways we work with clients to imbed sustainability into a company. It is through a company’s people where we have the greatest opportunity to bring humanity back to business and to ensure that business lives in harmony with the world.
The good news is we can all do something about it. We’re all either employees, consumers, or both. We can engage with the companies most important to us and demand more. They know they wouldn’t exist without us — and that gives us real power.
The best part is that most companies are dying to engage with their employees and consumers on a real human level. So write a letter, leave a comment, start a dialogue and get your voice heard. Work with your coworkers, friends and family and amplify your message. Bring the humanity back to business and ensure that business is always personal.
Image Source: Reinvent Business Hackathon