The Art of Being Productive
September 20, 2016

It’s Not Personal, It’s Business….Decision Making (Business vs Personal, Which One Wins?)


What are emotions?  The dictionary defines emotions as an affective state of consciousness in which joy, sorrow, fear, hate, or the like is experienced, as distinguished from cognitive and volitional states of consciousness.  Emotions have been considered by some as irrational occurrences that interfere with reasoning.

The thought process used to make any decision should always be rational.  Rational is defined as having or exercising reason, sound judgment, or good sense.  When rational thinking is used to control your decision making process, that leaves no room for your emotions to influence decisions.

I’m sure you have heard the following saying before: “It’s not personal, it’s business.”  Do you agree with this statement or is it something you say when you do not want to deal with the business of handling business?  Are the decisions you make while conducting business really business or are they personal?

It is best practice to separate business finances from personal finances as well as personal social media from business.  With that being said, why do some people find it difficult to separate emotions from decision making in business?

If people handled their emotions properly there wouldn’t be a need for Employment Law Attorneys, Psychologist, Therapist, Life Coaches, etc.  Although no one is perfect, it is your duty if you are providing a service to ensure you are treating your clients the way that you would want to be treated if the roles were reversed.  We are all human and we have our good and bad days but when you are being paid for a service, the client is not paying to deal with your personal problems.  Just because you may be consumed with emotions from personal problems or  temporary feelings, it does not give you a pass to lose professionalism.  You must learn to separate your personal emotions from business decision making in order to make the best decisions.

As a business owner, you cannot afford to have bad decision making skills as doing so is costly.  The decision to take on a new client is one of the many important decisions that must be made to ensure both parties benefit from the relationship.  If you take on a new client for selfish reasons when you are at capacity, you are doing yourself an injustice as well as the client.  More than likely, you will not be able to give the client the quality of service you would prefer due to having too many obligations.  There will be times when it is necessary to terminate a business/client relationship.  The decision to terminate a client is also an important decision and if necessary should be handled properly.  Making business decisions influenced by temporary emotions or personal issues should be avoided at all costs.

You may be asking, what does any of this have to do with business?

In business, sometimes individuals make decisions based off of temporary emotions that have nothing to do with the business.

In Corporate America, the majority of companies have an Ethics and Compliance resource to handle complaints filed by employees who feel that they have been treated unfairly.  In business, you have agencies such as the Better Business Bureau, to handle complaints filed by consumers against businesses.

Do you find yourself making decisions based off of temporary emotions or black and white facts?

Making business decisions based on emotions could cost you if you whether you are a large or small company.

You can avoid this very costly mistake by doing the following:

  1. Do not take anything personal. (One of The Four Agreements:
  2. Do not make permanent decisions based on temporary feelings.
  3. Respect the differences and the boundaries of people you deal with.
  4. Write out the reasons for making your decision before finalizing it.  If the items on the list are personal, re-evaluate the decision.
  5. Do not make decisions quickly, think all options through completely.
  6. Be sure you are not allowing individuals that do not have to deal with the consequences influence your decisions.
  7. Do not run your business in the same manner as you run your personal life.
  8. Always be professional and keep personal factors out business decisions.

When in doubt, if you find yourself questioning whether or not you made the right decision, there is usually an emotional influence in the equation.


Please feel free to post your thoughts on this topic, as well as your  struggles to separate emotions from decision making, or any lessons learned in this area.


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