The Most Difficult Aspect of Business is People
Posted: September 1, 2015 Written by: W.B. “Bud” Kirchner.
How often have we said “If it wasn’t for the people, this would be great!”? Do we say it about school? About work? About a business?
Well maybe the problem isn’t “the people.” Maybe the problem is us. Maybe it’s how we interact with people. Are we sympathetic? Are we empathetic? Or are we just pathetic?
I have long said the three most important things about a business are people (customers), people (employees) and people (managers). But all too often, business is placed in a category of interaction where people and society and empathy don’t matter.
I would also argue that in addition to people being the most important part of business, they are also the most difficult part of business. When I go into a struggling company and turn things upside down (in order to turn it around) I deal with difficult people or people in a difficult situation.
Yet even so, I see the inherent value in the human side of business and you should too. I am reminded of this any time I talk about family or corporate consciousness or the many behavioral subtleties that make us compassionate, empathetic human beings. And I ask you to take a moment to think of that as well when you are in similar situations in your everyday life.
But stop! My experience in neuroscience, psychology and related areas (the core of our Business Brain Model) tells me you are already resorting to critical thinking errors about me whether you know it or not.
So to clear things up quick, I thought I would mention my appearance in 2012 on Bob Scully’s The World Show which is seen on public television across the U.S. and Canada. Scully is an award-winning host that was named Person of the Year by American Public Television and I was honored that my appearance was chosen Interview of the Year.
My appearance on The World Show delves into my approach to and success within business; my work with and the story behind the Christopher Douglas Hidden Angel Foundation; the genesis of my quest for knowledge in neuroscience, psychology and related areas; and the symbioses of my world and how everything comes together as one.
This is a good place to start if you want to know more about me and what drives me. You can see the entire video here:
Do you remember reading William Golding’s Lord of the Flies? In Chapter 8, Golding writes, “We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?”
What went wrong? Adults went wrong. Who does the next generation learn from? Us. You. Me. We. It is our responsibility to pass down best practices for life and business.
That line from Golding, and his book, remind me of the hard-ass business guy who does not want to talk about, acknowledge or admit to empathy. We all know “that guy” and we have all worked with or against “that guy.” Maybe some of us have been “that guy” walking into meetings saying ‘I’m going to show them who the boss is!’
But we should all (including “that guy”) recognize and understand that empathy is arguably the most original, sustainable and important component of your brain. Since day one, we have been successful as a society, from an evolutionary point of view, because of our ability to function socially. And you can only function socially if you have some degree of empathy.
If nothing comes out of this digital library other than to raise the sensitivity and raise the awareness to the concepts of the Business Brain Model and how it relates to business then I think that would still be a strong contribution.
My hope is that after reading this, you will step back for a moment before you make any strategic business decision or negotiate a difficult business deal. I would like for you to think ‘I’m going to watch for nonverbal communication rather than listen to the lies somebody might be inclined to tell me’ or ‘I’m going to make sure I have a strong handshake and make an effort to smile with my eyes.’ If that happens to you then that would be an enormous step to your success.
“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
You should know that if you enter any room and the business owner is empathetic it makes a world of difference. If we all learn to be more empathetic then it doesn’t have to happen or remain in that room. We can carry empathy outside that room, outside that business and outside that community. Together, we can positively touch every corner of the world everyday.
Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”
It’s not too difficult, but if you stretch your mind to be more sensitive to why the Business Brain Model matters then you will have a competitive business advantage. Which in the end, is what we all want, right?
About the Author: W.B. “Bud” Kirchner is a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist with more than 50 years of business success. He is not a scientist or an academic but he does have a diversified exposure to neuroscience, psychology and related areas. Generally speaking, the ideas he expresses here are business-angled expansions of other people’s ideas, so when possible, he will link to the original reference.