When Business Gets Personal

Sunday, 22 June 2014 17:21
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"It's not personal. It's just business." So says Michael Corleone, in The Godfather. I would argue that certain business decisions are often both.

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends...

When Business Gets Personal

"Business is rarely just business. Personal considerations often can influence decision making. It may not be right, but it would be naïve to assume that it doesn't happen."

Business is business. But it can also get personal.

While most of us would like to believe that external technology review and supplier selection decisions are completely objective a fully level playing field, I am convinced that at least within some companies, this is not the case.

As for technology review, I assert that some practice an updated version of Not Invented Here that I refer to as NFBU (Not Found By Us). That is, external leads not identified by their own corporate scout or internal scientist are at a disadvantage relative to those that are. I'm certain that some of my leads have been adversely impacted by this behavior. In one memorable incident, a corporate liaison from a major CPG actually even carelessly shared with me that "anything I find is going to be given higher priority than whatever you bring in." Wow!

In supplier decisions, there can be a level of inertia and comfort with existing relationships that inhibit consideration of new approaches or materials.

It happens when conditions allow it to occur.

I can understand why NFBU can occur, particluarly if corporate employees are incentivized for the new technologies they personally bring in from outside sources. Also, if they are also responsible for evaluating these alternatives and get to influence which candidates are advanced or not. I'm not suggesting they necessarily make poor choices, or select options that won't progress the interests of the company. I'm simply suggesting that such conditions may encourage personal considerations to shade decision making.

In the case of new suppliers, I also understand why some parties can be resistant to considering change. In some instances, it is due to a comfort level associated with the incumbent. It can also be due to risk aversion. The problem with this mindset of course, is that it can create competitive disadvantage by faster movers. I am presently representing a highly disruptive packaging technology that will create compelling advantage for the first movers. I've moved on from sluggish prospects. It's not personal.

In conclusion.

As human beings, it is realistic to expect that our emotions and relationships can play a role in influencing our motivations and decision making. However, when these factors reach a point where they distort our ability to make good business decisions, the processes that encourage or allow these behaviors should be reconsidered. I suggest that within some companies, such reflection and reconsideration could be worthwhile.

Since 2005, BFS Innovations has helped its Fortune 500 clients with technology scouting, new business creation and development services. Contact Michael today at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 614 937-2408 to discuss your company's needs.


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