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05/27/2011 The Godfather was wrong

"It's not personal. It's business."

That was always one of my favorite lines from the movie "The Godfather." It implied a cold, rational way of dealing with the world, a way not meant to bruise feelings or to act wildly. 

Of course, "it's not personal" opens the way to some pretty egregious behavior including everything from terrible customer service to improperly treating employees to killing people (at least in the Mafia)!

Nowadays, it seems that everything is personal. We want brands that treat us personally, with respect, interest and as individuals, not just as another number or drone. When brands don't do this, they quickly feel the backlash on social channels. When brands respond back "It's not personal, it's business" they find that people don't want to do business with them at all.

We're seeing more of that in the business world too. Bosses who lack the ability to create some sort of personal and professional bond with employees find that the best employees either leave or underperform.

And in business-to-business relationships, choosing people to work with, as partners or vendors, is based as much on personal chemistry as on "hard" business decisions. 

The reason why all of this IS personal and not just business boils down to one thing: Trust

Can you trust your brand/boss/co-worker/vendor to do the right thing? Can you count on them to act in ways that are not completely self-serving? When push comes to shove, will they chip in or turn tail?

The Godfather's world was one based almost entirely on personal relationships. It was all personal. The same is true of business today.


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