Its Not Business, Its Personal

During last night’s installment of celebrity apprentice, that’s what Sharon Osborne told Trump when he asked her why she was so emotional during the boardroom confrontation at the end of which Osborne was fired. It happens that the charity for which Osborne was playing was very personal to her, and thus her plea that it wasn’t just business to her. Setting aside the obvious – that all of the players on the NBC show are competing to benefit causes that are in some way important to them personally – Osborne hit on what is, or ought to be, a deeper truth for all of us who are engaged in serving clients or customers. Business SHOULD BE personal. We should identify with our clients’ needs as keenly as we do with our own. We should engage with them on a level where their success matters as much as our own, and where we feel it as sharply as they do when they fall short. As Tom Peters might say, its all about empathy. I don’t mean to suggest that you become so involved with your clients’ issues that you lose objectivity or the ability to provide clear headed analysis. But if you can’ empathize, and don’t understand where the customer is coming from, your advice or service will be at least somewhat lacking. We all should strive to make our clients needs as personal to us as Sharon has her charitable works.

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