Professional businessmen and women often use this phrase when they come to a crossroads in a business relationship. Is it still a suitable expression for 21st Century business leaders? This particular idiom is sometimes used in a business crisis when it has become uncomfortable or awkward. In this age where relationship building is the key to business expansion, is this still a viable way to do business? Aren't business relationships built on trust and mutual benefit? If that goes south, is it fitting for a business professional to end that relationship with this catchall phrase that is sometimes used in movies that perpetuate bad business practices?
"Don't take it personal, it's just business," is a by-product of a corporate culture that fed fierce competition in the 20th Century. If you hear it in a business conversation in the 21st Century, brace yourself. You've most likely been delivered bad news, and it's meant to exonerate the person who gave it.
Why have I taken this toxic phrase to task during a time of profuse celebration and holiday cheer? There are three distinct reasons: I am grateful for the opportunity to be a small business owner in America. I hope that business owners handle conflict in a healthier and friendlier way in the future. And I believe the business world is in store for a significant paradigm shift and there will be no room for this phrase in the offices of small businesses, home-based businesses or mompreneurs. Not because we woke up and smelled the coffee, but small businesses across the nation are changing demographically because of the following:
• Women businesses are on an all-time rise in the United States. According to National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) "More than 9.1 million firms are owned by women, employing nearly 7.9 million people, and generating $1.4 trillion in sales as of 2014." Women tend to be more maternal in their leadership style.
• A recent Pew Research Center report states, "the Latino "share of the U.S. population, currently at 17 percent, is expected to reach 31 percent by 2060." That also means there will be more minorities going into business as America becomes a more diverse nation and culture will influence the way we do business like never before.
• Generation Y and Z er's are more laid back than their predecessors the Baby Boomers and Generation X. Work is a part of the equation that allows them to be who they are, but it doesn't define them. This prevailing attitude has already begun to infiltrate business culture.
All of these reasons speak to a different work culture and small business structure in the years to come. One, we hope will foster better business relations and allow for mediation when problems arise versus the guy with the biggest stick always winning the dogfight.
Will this catch-all phrase make it to the 22nd Century or will it become as antiquated as our great-grandfather's Ford Model T? I don't know, but if we look at the signs above, it just might be the case.
Sharon C. Jenkins is a serial "authorpreneur" and a consummate entrepreneur. Her main mission in life is to help authors and small businesses increase their "brandwidth" and to successfully pursue their passion for writing excellence. She is the Inspirational Principal for The Master Communicator's Writing Services. Her writing services and books are tools that assist others in realizing their literary dreams and achieve excellence in their business. She has two great loves in her life: writing and helping others.