“It’s not personal, it’s just business.”

Have you heard this one before? Or, have you said this one before? In my opinion, this is one of the more demeaning workplace cliches out there when used wrong! We know what this statement is trying to convey in the instance of org changes, lay-offs or other business decisions that are properly justified:

“Don’t be offended or hurt by this decision that we have made, we have to do what we have to do. It’s not you, it’s us.”

The above is the ONLY time this statement should be used. Where this statement is used inappropriately is when it comes to dirty dealing or hurting people’s feelings. When a carpenter cuts corners on materials — that is personal! When a business owner cuts holiday bonuses not due to hard times, but to pocket more for themselves — that is personal! When a real estate developer collects money to build condos and does not deliver — that is personal! When an employee lies and spreads rumors about a co-worker in order to gain favor for a promotion — that is personal!

Get the point here? As long as you are dealing with people/humans…  business is ALWAYS personal.