Nothing Personal It’s Strictly Business

Posted on 23. Jul, 2013 by in Character, Communication, Lead From Within, Leadership, Leadership Development, Life Balance, Life Skills, Mission, Passion, Personal Development, Purpose, Purpose, Workplace

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Watching The Godfather not long ago with my teenage son, I was struck by Michael Corleone’s line “It’s nothing personal, Sonny—it’s strictly business.”

Is business really ever “nothing personal”?

Can you imagine that Steve Jobs accepted it was “just business” when he was ousted from his position at Apple, the company that had been his brainchild?

Can you imagine someone saying it to Twitter founder Jack Dorsey when he was replaced as CEO? Do you think he didn’t consider it personal?

Can you imagine trying to say it that to any of the leaders, entrepreneurs, teachers, bosses, and CEOs who have spent half of their lives at work and put their heart and soul – and who-knows-how-many years of their lives – into their work. How can anyone say it’s not personal?

Business is personal, because we each crave a deeper connection with our work, a connection that transcends position and power and money, a connection in which we meet needs and create something.

We all want to be valued and recognized. And we like to know that we are making a difference when we put our heart and soul into something.

Our work reflects our personal lives, and our personal lives reflect our work.

 

 

If you have cared for your customers, it’s personal.

If you have lost sleep over a client, it’s personal

If you have gone out of your way for a colleague, it’s personal

If you stayed extra hours to help a team member, it’s personal.

What drives us each day to get up and go to work and work long hours is the fact that we think we are making a difference, contributing to the world around us.

If it wasn’t personal, then why would we even be doing it?

It’s not that you care that matters, it’s how much you care that makes a difference.

 

 

When you bring the best parts of yourself to work, life, and leadership, when you make everything you do personal and connect to your work on that level, that you find the deeper meaning that connects our humanity to everything we do.

Having a connection to our work brings our heart to what we do.

 

 

Lead From Within:  Heart based leaders understand it’s personal. Who you are at work has everything to do with who you are in life.

For coaching, consulting, workshops and speaking. Please feel free to contact me.

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51 Responses to “Nothing Personal It’s Strictly Business”

  1. Martina

    23. Jul, 2013

    Excellent points Lolly.

    Yes, who we are at work speaks volumes about who we truly are.

    And to look at the opposite end of the spectrum of the altruistically motivated heart-based leaders, and continuing your Godfather theme, underneath the things that we do that are not nice, there always lurks some personal motives. The motive may unfirtunately be that “the business” is more important than the person or the relationship. Or, that I think that what I want is more important than you.

    We are the choices we make every day, all day long. And even though we may wish to deceive ourselves, it is always personally-motivated, and heart-driven. So if we can say, “it’s strictly business,” we need to check ourtselves for a little more truth.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      23. Jul, 2013

      As always your added insight is food for thought!

      We are our shadows, and yes we have within us dualities, but at the end of the day, what we do
      speaks volumes and what we are is who we are.

      Thanks Martina! Always a great pleasure to read your thoughts.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  2. Alli Polin

    23. Jul, 2013

    Lolly –

    I’ve had jobs where my heart wasn’t in it and I was just passing through on my way to somewhere I could live a more passionate, more engaged, more connected life. Work is absolutely personal. It’s a reflection of who we are and where we spend most of our waking hours. To deny that we bring our whole-selves to work is to deny who we are – not a choice that works long term.

    Alli

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      23. Jul, 2013

      Alli,

      You are right WORK IS PERSONAL It’s a reflection of who we are and where we spend most of our waking hours!

      We cannot go on denying because we are denying parts of ourselves.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and adding your wisdom.
      Always fantastic to learn from you.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  3. Lolly ~

    Before reading your post, I would have definitely said that business doesn’t have to be personal. My brain automatically turns off the “feeling” section and I’ve often reminded myself that I shouldn’t feel bad because someone else takes something poorly.

    However, your post did make me take a step back and realize the personal investment we each put into our business. Truly successful business people and entrepreneurs are those that actively acknowledge the mind, body, and soul of each person we work with and help.

    It is not just enough to apply the “golden rule”, but rather to fully grasp the impact that our own words and actions have on the world around us.

    Thanks for opening my eyes… and soul…

    Irish smiles,
    Shannon

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      23. Jul, 2013

      Shannon you are so right as you say, We must not only apply the golden rule but to see its impact ….

      Thank you for stopping by and lending us your wisdom!

      Irish smiles back at you!

      Reply to this comment
  4. Terri Klass

    23. Jul, 2013

    Lolly,
    You are so right that we cannot separate our personal lives from our work lives. Both are intertwined and both describe what we value as people and leaders. I also think that when we bring our personal perspective into our leadership roles, we are more authentic and relatable leaders. I so appreciate your insights!
    Terri

    Reply to this comment
  5. Samantha

    23. Jul, 2013

    Spot on Lolly!

    Along the same lines, I’ve had leaders believe and tell me they are masters in compartmentalization. ‘I know how to keep my personal life (lies and deception as an example) separate from the business.’

    Friends and leaders. No. It’s flat out DENIAL. Plain and simple.

    What we do bleeds into EVERY area of our lives. If not sooner it is bound to later.

    The way we treat people; family, friends, strangers, customers and clients, peers, other professionals…impacts everything.

    Love the whole post and highlighting the last line here:

    ‘Heart based leaders understand it’s personal. Who you are at work has everything to do with who you are in life.’

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      23. Jul, 2013

      You are right Samantha,

      We bring all parts of ourselves to work and to life.

      What we do BLEEDS into every area of our lives < Here you are very correct!

      Could not agree more…

      Thanks for your insight.

      Love your thoughts
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  6. Panteli Tritchew

    23. Jul, 2013

    Person, personal, personnel, personify, personality and ……persona.

    These rings are interlocked and, to borrow from Samantha, bleed into each other. Great advice to understand that “Who you are at work has everything to do with who you are in life.” Better to follow and flow from the heart at all times, rather than try to unravel the cat’s-cradle. Great post, Lolly ! :)

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      23. Jul, 2013

      LOVE THIS Panteli

      Person, personal, personnel, personify, personality and ……persona.

      All parts of who we are and what we do.

      The best wisdom is FOLLOW YOUR HEART.

      As always I cherish reading your thoughts and insights

      Thanks for lending us your heart.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  7. Daymond

    23. Jul, 2013

    “It’s nothing personal” quite used in order to explain nothing and to avoid a face to face contact when actions speak by itself.

    Reply to this comment
  8. LaRae Quy

    23. Jul, 2013

    Hi Lolly

    A very thoughtful and well written post. I love that you encourage people to explore their shadow side…..it is a part of who we are and we need to embrace all of who we are, not just part.

    “When you bring the best parts of yourself to work, life, and leadership, when you make everything you do personal and connect to your work on that level, that you find the deeper meaning that connects our humanity to everything we do.”

    It’s learning to be tender with all aspects of who we are, while focusing on nurturing the best parts.

    Thanks….

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      23. Jul, 2013

      If we leave out our shadow side we not explore all of who we are.
      We are made up of shadow and light. All that is within us matters.
      Thanks for stopping by LaRae!
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  9. Frank Sonnenberg

    24. Jul, 2013

    Hi Lolly

    You have a talent for cutting through the crap and getting right to the heart of the matter.

    This post really hits home for me. I especially like, “Business is personal, because we each crave a deeper connection with our work, a connection that transcends position and power and money, a connection in which we meet needs and create something. We all want to be valued and recognized. And we like to know that we are making a difference when we put our heart and soul into something.”

    So simple, yet so true. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Frank

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      24. Jul, 2013

      Frank you are someone I admire greatly.

      You are one of my mentors and if you feel I have done justice to BUSINESS vs PERSONAL.

      Then I feel honored.

      Thanks so much for lending your words here, it means a lot to me.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  10. john_paul

    24. Jul, 2013

    You are unforgettable, a fabulous leader!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      24. Jul, 2013

      You are too kind John!

      Miss you at #leadfromwithin

      This upcoming week we have a MONK. you will adore him
      we are chatting about THE MEANING OF LIFE.

      JOIN US.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  11. Karin Hurt

    24. Jul, 2013

    Lolly,
    Fantastic post. I think some leaders try to say “it’s nothing personal” to protect themselves from feeling too much. They fear intimacy and connection with the work and with the people. It’s impossible. The feelings are there, and there is huge power in leading from that connected place. I also know leaders who are reluctant to get “personal” with their teams. An interesting dialogue emerged on this post… the risks and rewards of professional intimacy.

    http://letsgrowleaders.com/2013/06/10/professional_intimacy/

    Reply to this comment
  12. lollydaskal

    24. Jul, 2013

    Karin,
    You talked about leaders protecting themselves and you say they fear intimacy. What they don’t realize that “intimacy”- is the essence of what people want most

    PEOPLE want to be appreciated, acknowledged and accepted.

    Leadership that understands that – goes a long way…

    Thanks for sharing your article and thanks for your added wisdom, I always look forward to what you have to add.

    Lolly

    Reply to this comment
  13. Andy Phillips

    24. Jul, 2013

    Of course that is the great realization Michael has – that all business is personal! I was thinking about this and how actually when our work becomes just business then the next thing that happens is loss of interest and discontent. As ever a thought provoking post Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      24. Jul, 2013

      So true Andy, when we don’t put ourselves into what we do, we loose interest.

      Great reminder of what happens when we divide ourselves into parts – we get fragmentation and discontent.

      Thanks for stopping by. Always glad to see you.

      We have a special treat next week on #leadfromwithin I hope you can join us!

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  14. Udayan Lahiry

    25. Jul, 2013

    I have been reading your articles for sometime now, the more I read , the more still i want. Great writing, truely influences thoughts and actions.
    Business is definitely personal and the way you have got it out is awesome.
    Thanks and keep writing
    Udayan

    Reply to this comment
  15. Anthony Demangone

    25. Jul, 2013

    Thanks for the thoughtful post. But I always took Corleone’s quote a different way.

    There will be problems at work. Competitors will take you on. You may not see eye-to-eye with your chair. The problems themselves aren’t personal. They aren’t your problems. If you left, the problems would remain for your successor. So in that light, much of what we stress over isn’t personal. It’s simply a part of being in business.

    On the other hand, what you bring to the job – the personality, hard work, inspiration, ideas, commitment – nothing could be more personal.

    Anyway, some food for thought. Thanks again for the wonderful post.

    - Anthony

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      25. Jul, 2013

      Great food for thought and your take on the same phrase.

      Interesting. Thanks for bringing your perspective to my attention.

      I appreciate you.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  16. Alan Edelman

    25. Jul, 2013

    Why do most of the companies I’ve worked for strive for a impersonal culture devoid of emotion?
    This has always diminshed my motivation and performance.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      25. Jul, 2013

      It is the way it is in many places but if we speak up and say what we want and what we are looking for.. that is the beginning of change.

      be the change you want to see in the world, rings true to what you highlighted.

      Thanks
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  17. Jake Keller

    25. Jul, 2013

    I’ll confess I have used that line when I had to let a person go because of his failure to comply with certain requirements. I like the man and his family and we remain on good terms, but his actions were bad for business and we could no longer tolerate it.

    I do agree, however, that our work is very personal and defines in large measure who we are. This is especially true of the famous and not-so-famous leaders.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      25. Jul, 2013

      Jake,

      I know you are being polite when you tell your employee that it is not personal its only business.

      I feel strongly it does not help them in the long run.

      We need to learn from our mistakes

      We need to grow in our own self awareness

      We need to conquer our weakness

      I believe every job, every opportunity is something for us to grow and learn personally.

      Why not—-try this… the next time you are going to let someone go. Tell them why.. and ask them how they themselves want to do better next time. But you need to let them go BE AUTHENTIC, TRANSPARENT AND REAL.

      When you teach – people learn
      when you mentor -people grow.

      Just sharing my thoughts.
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  18. Yanni Frantz.

    25. Jul, 2013

    I agree with Anthony Demangone’s comments 100%.
    Lolly, I did like your post very much but I sincerely think you missed that angle. It is very important to leave business behind when you go back to your home and your family and NOT lose any sleep over that client.

    Yanni

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      25. Jul, 2013

      I think you and I are saying two different things.

      Everything we do is personal we bring all of ourselves to every part of work.

      You bring your clients home if you like it or not.

      You worry about your boss if you want to or not

      You are frustrated how a meeting went if you want to or not.

      at home and at work we bring our thoughts wherever we are

      Reply to this comment
  19. Rick DeBowes

    25. Jul, 2013

    Lolly,

    Nice piece…and I totally agree with you.

    It’s been said many times that people don’t care how much you know (technical competencies about the job, the company, the board room, the market, the science) until they KNOW how much you care. Care being defined as watchful attention, we all want leaders/colleagues/coworkers/etc who care and are truly watchfully attentive.

    The only way that watchful attention is authentic is if it is personal…and when it is, the people being led can feel the authenticity.

    In the end, life and not just business, is all personal isn’t it?

    I suppose the above makes it even more important to get a handle on ourselves because wherever we go, there we are!

    Reply to this comment
  20. JOHN MULROY

    25. Jul, 2013

    its personal when there’s passion involved,,,before that,,,its just pride. Pride is the hardest thing to get over,,,Passion will make you get up quicker and take back whats your,,by making what you gave away, better than what you had,,,,in the 1st place,,,,have you something in mind,,girl,,,

    Reply to this comment
  21. Dorothy Dalton

    25. Jul, 2013

    Lolly- totally agree. In fact the minute someone says ” It’s nothing personal..;” you know you are going to hear something hurtful/negative and VERY personal!

    Reply to this comment
  22. Michael Friedman

    25. Jul, 2013

    Greetings Lolly.

    I stumbled upon this post via LinkedIn and couldn’t resist due to your use of The Godfather. I love the concept of your post and I agree with you on the reality that we are heavily involved in our work (as does Michael Corleone – see below), however we differ in our observations of the quote you used as Michael was trying to point out to Sonny that to kill a cop could be rationalized and accepted by the media and police because the cop was dirty, therefore the means justify the ends. When saying that quote, Michael is stipulating that his decision is not based out of an emotional response but more-so a logical and tactical reprisal – strictly business.

    However, at the same time, I agree with your post in that Michael (especially by the third film in the installment) sees what he has given up to achieve/maintain “The Family” and suffers with the regret of his choices, something I hope we all can learn from whether it is in business or in life.

    First and fore-most, that line has multiple uses in the movie and the one I prefer to focus upon comes when Tom Hagen says the line to Sonny. “You’re father wouldn’t want to hear this Sonny. This is business not personal.” This line precedes Michael’s use of this phrase as quoted above.

    It was said to get Sonny to not react emotionally to what happened to his father and think clearly before he took action and not let his ego (emotions) get the best of him because that’s how you end up dead (or fired) as Sonny did later in the film. People often let their emotions get involved in decision making, especially business decisions and this costs them dramatically due to the resulting consequences.

    In The Godfather, Copolla wasn’t suggesting Michael was the model citizen or a humanist in any sense. He was showing the duality of running a cut-throat (literally) organization and the sacrifices one has to make to do so. It is a Greek tragedy in every sense of the word as the more Michael took power, the more he lost the human part of his essence. Remember that Michael was a war hero and not part of the Corleone Mob family until after he took revenge for his father being shot.

    As Michael adopted more and more of the role he had to play to become the Godfather (the boss), he lost more and more of his humanity, his role as a husband, and as a father as do many that make these choices to achieve/maintain power of any kind. Plenty of leaders of all kinds of industries and especially those driven to create something, often make sacrifices such as their marriages, time with the family, and personal freedom so they can become “The Boss.”

    This is one of the reasons The Godfather is so brilliant and the film has resonated with such a wide variety of audiences. People from all walks of life can identify with Michael’s actions, choices, mistakes, and especially his regrets as though they were their own.

    Granted, these are not people everyone wants to emulate, but they are who they are and we can only do our best to not fall into these traps in our own world which is I believe what you are stating above (and rightfully so) and something both Mario Puzo (the author of The Godfather) and Copolla wanted the audience to wrestle with conceptually.

    For what it is worth, Michael also says to Tom, “Tom, don’t let anybody kid you. It’s all personal, every bit of business. Every piece of sh*t every man has to eat every day of his life is personal. They call it business. OK. But it’s personal as hell. You know where I learned that from? The Don. My old man. The Godfather. If a bolt of lightning hit a friend of his the old man would take it personal. He took my going into the Marines personal. That’s what makes him great. The Great Don. He takes everything personal Like God. He knows every feather that falls from the tail of a sparrow or however the hell it goes? Right? And you know something? Accidents don’t happen to people who take accidents as a personal insult.”
    Michael knew what he was doing and chose the responsibility and sacrifices that came with it, again, as do many that seek these roles whether it is out of ego, the quest for power, or to create. Both the Don and Michael suffered tremendously for their choices. This is one of the morality/quid pro quo plot lines of the film.

    The truth to the above statements ultimately lies in the eye of the beholder. Food for thought. Don’t shoot the messenger. FYI, I loved your post, just thought I would share another angle. :)

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      25. Jul, 2013

      Michael

      I love learning new perspectives so thanks for sharing. I admire your passion for the godfather and its essence.

      Reply to this comment
  23. Chery Gegelman

    25. Jul, 2013

    Great post Lolly! Such a simple truth about words that are used so frequently.

    Dorothy naild it when she said, “…The minute someone says ” It’s nothing personal..;” you know you are going to hear something hurtful/negative and VERY personal!

    Reply to this comment
  24. Jay

    26. Jul, 2013

    Hello Lolly…this is very true and very meaningful. It is personal, which leads to authenticity and true leadership. Thank you again for a wonderful post.

    Jay

    Reply to this comment
  25. dawoodchishti

    26. Jul, 2013

    True portrait of your uniqueness, Lolly.

    Reply to this comment
  26. Yair Gramse

    28. Jul, 2013

    Eveything is personal, but we should learn to distingusish when we make a business decision based on personal issues, and when they are based on professional/scientific issues.
    Keep in mind that after all Michael K. had to make a decision relating to his brother. Eventually, as we all know, he opted for the business based one, rather than the personal based one.
    Bottom line is that there are personal and professional decisions, and Michael K., as a any good manager, chose the professional one.

    Reply to this comment
  27. Wayne McEvilly

    29. Jul, 2013

    Difficult to conceive anything more personal than a Mafia bump-off.

    Reply to this comment
  28. Garren Fagaragan

    01. Aug, 2013

    Aloha Lolly…

    My comment is from another angle…the angle
    of the individual who gets laid off or terminated.

    I’ve been laid off twice in my JOB career…and
    terminated from my recent job of 2 years last
    Wednesday.

    Being on the receiving end…it really was nothing personal…it was strictly business.

    From this perspective…I respectfully disagree
    with your view of the quote.

    Individuals all over this country…hard workers…good workers…giving their all to their employers…some for many years…

    can be dropped like a hot potato…if the employer
    feels they are not a fit…or they don’t need you anymore…or
    they need to cutback their workforce or for whatever reason.

    My recent employer…is an at will employer…meaning they can terminate any employment without cause or notice.

    With decision making power like this…at any time an individuals can…will and are
    treated like numbers…taken unexpectedly to the theatre
    and shown the film…

    Das Boot!

    see ya…you gave your all…day after day…for years…

    it doesn’t matter…see ya…

    you lose all your health/medical benefits too…it doesn’t matter…see ya.

    Nothing Personal…Its Strictly Business.

    So…what was I terminated for?

    I didn’t smile enough…that was a main reason given.
    I know you and your readers don’t know me

    Reply to this comment
  29. Garren Fagaragan

    01. Aug, 2013

    but my smile is one of my strengths. Don’t laugh…
    its true…the report said…”its the one thing missing from Garren’s customer experience is his smile.”

    Anyway…

    point is…

    Its important to not be deceived…especially in
    employer/employee relationships…that one
    is indespensable…

    You think because your a good worker
    a hard worker…sincere worker…you’re free from the ax of

    sorry…Nothing Personal…Its Strictly Business.

    If you do…you may want to think again.

    Reply to this comment
  30. Al

    01. Aug, 2013

    What happens to a person whens/he brings that heart to work — cares for clients, goes the extra mile for colleagues — takes a trues interest in the job but works for and with others who don’t? When they kick that person in the teeth for thanks? Especially if there is no where else for that person to go (golden handcuff syndrome), what does s/he become?

    Reply to this comment
  31. Mel @ Trailing After God

    29. Aug, 2013

    Absolutely agree. And if a company tries to make it “non-personal” they are sure to lose customers. Nothing makes customers run away faster than the feeling they are not important to a company and vice verse for a company you work for. I once worked for a guy who was a jerk and used to tell our customers he was a millionaire. He egotistical attitude would have run me off as a customer and as an employee, when I had the chance to get out, I did!

    Reply to this comment
  32. David Barnes

    18. Oct, 2013

    The phrase “it’s just business” seemed to become engrained in our consciousness after The Godfather movie. It’s a pattern that persists and is out of balance in my view. I’ve worked in corporate management and executive positions in the non-profit world. Any time someone wanted to remove the people part of business out of a decision this phrase would be used. This sentiment became the inspiration for my own personal journey to change business patterns through our Alignment Process movie sessions. I believe a new set point in business is emerging and it leaders like you Lolly that are inspiring others to choose a different approach that’s win-win and more inclusive. I’m cheering you on and will do my part to support the emerging set-point.

    Reply to this comment

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