Business IS Personal
British society (but not only British society) is trapped in the myth that business is business, whilst personal stuff is personal stuff.
This brings out all sorts of pretensions, such as the illusion that business deals can simply be rooted in “logic” with the consequence that the most important learning topic is “how to debate” as power is firmly in the hand of the Best Talker.
The Best Talker is the person able to talk everybody else into doing anything he or she wants.
Cue Tony Blair, and now David Cameron not by chance much on the way up compared to rhetorical troglodyte Gordon Brown.
This is truly a pity and a missed opportunity, as it removes content, ideas and personality from the main focus, in business as in politics.
The best one can hope is that invisible advisers will actually implement something good for the country, when it doesn’t interfere with the leader’s personal advantage.
That’s something more akin to Enlightened Dictatorship than to liberal democracy.
But in truth Business is Personal. For most of us at least. Business is impersonal for bored public sector employees and stressed-out private sector middle managers (aka “Cannon Fodder”).
For everybody else, there is a reason to be engaged in business activities that goes beyond the actual performing of our particular duty.
The existence of one’s salary is often vital to the persons one cares about most, one’s family. The desire to perform well and/or to get a promotion or expand one’s business, it’s all deeply rooted in one’s own need for self-esteem and fulfillment.
Being able in one’s business to cut a deal or even keep one’s job in the face of adversity is very much personal stuff.
And that’s why logic cannot be enough. We have to recognize that in the choice of a new IT system or Managing Director or people to fire during next cost-cutting exercise, gut-feelings and emotions are just as important as what’s “rational”.
Business is Personal, and it will remain so until negotiation will only be done by machines.