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It's Not Business, It's Personal

In the 1998 "You've Got Mail" fall rom-com, there is a line that always gets us.

Big "bad" business owner Tom Hanks puts small "good" business owner Meg Ryan out of business.

It wasn't... personal.

He says. To which she answers:

What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn't personal to you. But it was personal to me.

a picture from the Movie You've got Mail
Meg & Tom getting personal

It's not personal, it's business

Many people will remember this from The GodFather movie or coming out of the mouths of many business leaders in the past decades, basically saying: "Business decisions have nothing to do with you as an individual, they are made for the health of the business only. Do not take it personally".

Conventionally, that is more or less how business has been working for decades with a strict separation of the two spheres. This is rooted in the idea that growth is key and that we have to maximize profits and efficiency at all cost. Consequently, decisions should be pragmatic and number-based, and never involve any personal emotions. Personal considerations or emotional connections are seen as superfluous and unreliable, clouding business decisions to stay competitive and efficient.

This mindset has greatly impacted most workplaces in the 20th century up to today.

Like everything else, this way of doing business has its merits. But it also comes with its limits and downsides which are coming more and more to light nowadays.

Neglecting the Human element is never wise.

Business leaders are often scared to get personal. They are trained to "do business". They understand spreadsheets, and how to make informed decisions based on numbers. They are much less comfortable trying to understand others inner motivations, pain points and triggers. Numbers are predictable (usually). People, not so much.

But we are finally coming to realise that neglecting the human element in the spreadsheet can easily affect the bottomline.

a beautiful meeting room in an italian castle
Where are the humans?

It is pretty simple when we dare to slow down and think about it for a minute:

  • When we feel ignored, unheard, and disregarded for too long we tend to disengage

  • Less engaged team members often means a drop in creativity and productivity and increase in presenteism and gossip

  • which will eventually impact turn over, talent retention/attraction and of course, the bottom line.

It is about time we admit...

It's Personal, and, it's Business

Business is relationships. Relationships are personal. The genuine ones that is.

Let's remember Meg Ryan. Even if it does not feel that way to you, it is almost always personal to someone.

If we stop fearing them, personal emotions and connections can be nurtured for greater creativity and productivity.

It is not about throwing away the spreadsheet and starting braiding each other's hair.

It is about finding the subtle balance between the business goals and the needs of the humans working to reach those goals. It is about understanding that we do go further and are stronger together, but only if our basic needs of feeling heard, cared for and of belonging are met.

After all, we can only give our best to those who treat us best.

team members playing a game
Connections can lift you up

It's Only Natural

At Campfire Company, like to think the only way to do good business is to get personal: to a certain level with your users but first and foremost, with your team. Obviously we do not mean you should pry into people's private and intimate lives. We mean truly getting to know your team members: what motivates them, what moves them, what gets them out of bed...

And guess what? Team retreats are at the perfect intersection of business and personal, serving as a catalyst for personal connection.

We have seen it in several of our previous pieces, Nature has this power to bring to the surface what is most human within us. After a few days we are reminded that we are, after all, nature ourselves and slowly drop the armor. It is often an unconscious and subtle process, but it allows to breaks down professional barriers.

A natural surrounding (spending more time outside, eating outside, taking long walks in the forest, doing more things with your hands...) helps bring people closer together.

When it comes to teams it is a perfect environment to (re) unite everyone behind a common vision. As Nature helps lower our stress levels, it allows us to be more present and it makes it easier to communicate and collaborate.

We find ourselves thinking outside the box as we find ourselves outside our usual "box" (office), which brings creativity, inspiration and problem solving to the next level. And finally, as we see our team mates without their "work costume" on, we are given opportunities to go from colleague to friend.

a team on a retreat enjoying a bonfire
Chats by the fire are always more intimate

This might sound obvious to many but you are still a minority. We believe team retreats in nature are a great safe first step toward the right direction. With trusted facilitators and our onsite supporting team we guarantee getting personal will feel completely natural.


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