For the past two weeks I’ve explored the question of what happens if you can’t separate your personal convictions and beliefs from your business. In part two I did a bit of research and talked about mixing politics with business and some examples of those that do and don’t. I can honestly say even with all of my reading and research I couldn’t come up with a do or don’t answer. Some people swear it’s a no-no, others will tell you that it’s part of being authentic.
My conclusion is this:
I believe you can be authentic, stay true to your personal convictions and run a successful business.
I also believe you must consciously make decisions about how you can or if you should do that within your role as a business owner. Think about how voicing your feelings on divisive topics might affect your business.
- Are your feelings on a certain subject or subjects worth possibly losing a client or alienating your business from an entire segment of potential clients?
- Is it possible to maintain your convictions without needing to make them known to your business contacts?
- Will you feel inauthentic or phony if you don’t make certain convictions or beliefs known?
These are all questions whose answers will vary for every business owner. Some business owners will have no problem separating their own feelings about important issues from their business. Others will not be comfortable projecting two different personas, one personal and one for business. Still others will have some beliefs that they feel can remain in the personal realm and others that are so important to who they are that they must spill over into the way they do business. This is the category I identify with the strongest.
Once I identified which convictions and beliefs were such an integral part of who I am that they could not be confined only to my personal life, I then had to decide just how I was going to deal with them in a business setting. The most critical part of this is reminding yourself that professionalism needs to extend to all areas of your business, including this. For me, that meant realizing that so-called ‘soapbox’ moments were off limits in my business communications. It also means being a bit more selective which business contacts I connect with via my personal accounts on Facebook, etc.
So how can one be authentic about personal convictions while maintaining professionalism?
Again, it’s an individual determination. For me, I feel that my business can openly support certain organizations that support my personal convictions. That support may include sharing their social posts, contributing financially or volunteering my time or services. In some instances, it may even mean vocalizing support, but done professionally, not with personal rants or observations.
Again, this is a reflection of how I feel I can best remain true to myself while balancing the professionalism needed to run my business. The decisions you make for yourself and your business must be your own. No one else can make those determinations and decisions for you. Not even the so-called experts.
What about you? How have you dealt with personal convictions and beliefs in the business realm? Share them below or on my Facebook page.