“It’s nothing personal. It’s just business…”

By Rachel Davidson-Foster on April 20, 2017

We’ve all been on the end of that phrase at some point or other in our lives, haven’t we? It’s usually delivered with an indifferent shrug of a rather cold-shoulder.

I know that when I’ve had that said to me, or felt able to say it to somebody else, it has never felt great.

I’m not being a ‘snowflake’ here though. I do get that the mechanism of business behaviour won’t have the same feeling of connection and personal impact as behaviours experienced in my friendships and family life. But I still don’t ‘get’ why, when business is conducted by people how it can be anything other than personal. Don’t we all bring ourselves, our personalities, our values into our work and business?

But it is not as simple as that. It seems that there is a disconnect in our minds – that the operation of business values is separate entirely from personal, morale values. People would be horrified to think of themselves lying to a friend but when asked, through their business-work to deceive a potential client go right ahead, justifying it as ‘just business’. Why do we think of these two things, business and personal, as mutually-separate?

Again, no need to lecture me on all the justifications and protections that business needs in order to proceed. I’m old enough to have lived all of them. But running my business in alignment with how I want to behave in my life is still something that I think about a lot.

And maybe you would like to think about it more too?

Well, you’re in luck my friend!

ORB is now a member of the UK Values Alliance who do great work raising awareness of values and how crucial these are to the wellbeing of everyone on the planet – including businesses and organisations. The team at UK Values Alliance ran the first “World Values Day” last year to great acclaim and success. And they’re doing it again this year on 19th October 2017.

Put that date in the diary – but actually you could help out now.

The UK Values Alliance is looking for ‘guinea pigs’ – businesses to help them get ready for the big day in October by giving their “Values Challenge” a test.

The “Values Challenge” is a quick, practical, and dare I say it, fun, way to check if there is a gap between the words your organisation uses and the actions it takes, and if there is a gap, how you might go about closing that. Or to put it another way, how successful you are at matching your businesses behaviour with your values. You’ll be asked to spend just 1 hour, looking at 1 value and committing to making just 1 change.

If your organisation would like to try out the “Values Challenge” in advance and feedback your thoughts and achievements to the UK Values Alliance team then you can! Contact this email contact@valuesalliance.co.uk to sign yourself up and be part of this great day. They’ll get back to you with further details.

And furthermore…

If the idea of working on your values has sparked your imagination then #ORBMember and fellow UK Values Alliance member Paul Palmarozza may have the perfect resource for you.

Paul and his team have developed a free values app “IF I CAN…”, inspired by the poem If by Kipling, which offers a daily email reminder that includes an “If I can…” statement focussing on one of 52 values, a quote on the importance of the value and a question to encourage you to reflect upon the application of the value in your life. There are also stories and videos about values on the website www.ificanapp.com where you can subscribe. The daily offering is also available on Facebook and as a mobile app on Google Play and Apple Store.

I’d encourage you to go sign up now. I have. They are currently working on a business oriented version, The Ethical Entrepreneur and we will keep you informed on progress.

Because whilst I understand that it is ‘just’ business I also believe that because it is business it is also personal, and that if we all work harder at bringing our humanity and personal values into the hours that we are doing business then not only will the world be a better place, but we and our businesses will also prosper.

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