Why All Business is Personal: Keys to Humanizing Business Success

A recurring theme throughout my career as an author, public speaker, and business consultant has been,

“All business is personal.”

Amidst the rush for revenue generation and product development, companies sometimes overlook the importance of fostering deep personal relationships with their employees and clientele.

Here are four tips to drive sustainable success by “keeping it personal.”

1) Go Beyond the Superficial

There’s wisdom in the phrase, “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” However, I’ve revised that saying. My version goes like this:

“It’s not what you know or who you know. It’s what you know about who you know.”

When you put it all together, knowledge without relationships doesn’t produce success. Ultimately success requires us to understand the wants, needs, desires, and interests of our team members, colleagues, and customers.

2) Serve Those Who Serve You

When it comes to service, most of us think of caring for our customers or our team members. However, in my book “The Zappos Experience,” I emphasize the importance of also serving the communities where we do business (not just customers in those communities) and treating suppliers as valued partners (not like fulfillment objects). By expanding the stakeholder groups that we seek to serve, those groups often go the extra mile for us.

3) Be Considerate

When I started working with Starbucks decades ago, leaders trained to “5 Ways of Being” and captured those concepts in a “Green Apron Book,” carried in Starbucks partners’ aprons.

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Those ways of being were:

  • Be Welcoming
  • Be Genuine
  • Be Knowledgeable
  • Be Involved and
  • Be Considerate.

For Starbucks, being considerate meant:

  • Taking care of yourself, each other, and our environment.
  • Viewing the store from a customer’s perspective. How does it look and feel?
  • Recognizing one another for our effort and quality of work.
  • Always be punctual – it affects customers, partners, and store business.
  • Contributing to a safe, secure, and accident-free environment for everyone.
  • Offer help and support to fellow partners at work.
  • Take the initiative: When you see something that needs to be done, do it.
  • Learn and follow guidelines for recycling, waste reduction, energy and water conservation, and Earth Day.
  • Communicate to partners with openness and sincerity.

From my vantage point, being considerate also means:

  • Carving out time for active listening.
  • Promoting a culture where feedback and suggestions are encouraged.
  • Exhibiting empathy and compassion when resolving complaints or addressing concerns.
  • Taking complaints and issues seriously by providing effective follow-ups.
  • Being open to learning from your team and clients and integrating their insights into daily operations.

4) Celebrate

Team members and customers develop loyalty for organizations that value and respect them. Customers appreciate brands that celebrate their loyalty, acknowledge their preferences, and recognize their important milestones. Similarly, team members value acknowledgment and a culture of positive recognition. Moreover, I believe:

Teams that play together stay together – and get more done!

Much success to you as you deliver considerate, personal, and celebratory experiences for staff, customers, business partners, and the communities you serve!

To learn more about humanizing the experiences you deliver, please contact me at josephmichelli.com/contact.

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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