Business is Personal

If you've ever worked in corporate you'll know how crazy that statement sounds. How can you possibly bare your soul in the political maelstrom that normally pervades big business? Business needs to be separated from personal life – to keep your sanity. Right? Wrong - smart companies are now working to re-engineer their cultures to allow people to actually be more like their true selves at work. Why? Because they've come to realise that a bunch of yes people isn't nearly as innovative as a bunch of individuals.

We may be a few years away from this trend becoming the norm in large corporations, but what about the smaller end of town? If you're starting your own business or if you run an established small business, you should feel comfortable to be yourself at work - right? Not necessarily. Society norms about being 'professional' spill over from the corporate world (especially if you've spent time working there yourself) into small business, and we end up disconnecting who we really are with our business persona - to be 'safe.' The result is that our true creativity within our business becomes stifled - and that can threaten the very survival of our businesses.

So what to do? How do you make business more personal? The answer is to reconnect to what drives you personally. And one technique is to go back (in to your mind) to when you were still at liberty to dream - before school taught you conform and do as you were told. Perhaps when you were 8, 9 or 10. Before you were taught to think logically and ignore your creative brain. It's amazing what comes back to you when you do this - as those childish dreams contain powerful cues to who we really are. But they're important - and once you reconnect to these dreams within the context of what you do now - what you've learned in your adult life - you can see a connection. It's a clue to your real identity - and it can inspire you to re-think how you do business. It might mean a subtle change or a complete change in direction.

But the closer you can get to the real you in the work you do every day, the better. The more personal you make business the easier it is to connect and engender trust. Making business more personal makes you more effective, more innovative and ultimately happier.

Justin Cooper