The Humanity of Business

As I’m sitting here in my home office, I’m consoling a friend that lost an auntie in the Brussel’s terrorist attack. Later that morning, I’m trying to soothe another friend’s nerves because they work at Heathrow airport, and they can’t get it through passenger’s heads about tightened security. Both need more right now in terms of a human touch.

Others in my friends and family watch me back a suitcase to prepare for my journey to Ukraine where I’ll be collecting samples and working with a colleague in the labs. They ask me, “Aren’t you scared?”

Of course I’m nervous. Ukraine hasn’t exactly been a place of peace in recent years, but I’ll be hanging out at a university that has been at peace with itself and the things going on. Life, it seems, marches on whether we are scared or not. We must continue to dream and reach for those dreams.

Business, whether you are in policy making or research, doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

Bill Moyer Quotes on HumanityColin Macilwain noted that scientists and academics are just as bad about this as much of the teenage world that concerns themselves with fashion, high school drama, and the latest celebrity news. I’m not a supporter of Trump because he’s a belligerent asshole, nor am I a supporter of Clinton for her corruption. I don’t exactly like Sanders’ view on things. Cruz is a pretentious ass, but at least he’s open about it. The others? Well, they are just a little too green in the world of politics, and I’m not sure how they’d fair on a world stage.

I would want to call the whole thing off and ask for a do-over. But that’s not how the real world works. Just like the United States “created” ISIS years ago when they started to help Syria rebuild, but then pulled troops and support out of the Middle East, thus removing the stabilising structures. We have to deal with that, even if it’s just the fallout down the road. Or as ISIS comes to our safe, western world we happen to be in the right place at the wrong time.

We don’t live our lives in a vacuum — that means we shouldn’t be careless.

When I travel, I always observe things around me. I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’ve seen pickpockets at the airport, careless travellers leave their belongings, and drug exchanges going on in the airport, let alone the aeroplane. These things seem harmless in retrospect of a suicide bomber on the loose, willing to show up and kill themselves anywhere.

This extra step of knowing what to look for and reporting suspicious behaviour would not hurt us. In fact, it would make it harder for someone to injure us, a friend, or some stranger’s loved one. This is the call of humanity, even when we are doing things for business.

We also shouldn’t be callous — business is more than numbers.

I’m travelling to test soils samples from war zones. I’m testing a samples of chemical war from all over and different time periods trying to map their chemical signatures. It’s trying work, but I’m interested to know how long the damage stays in different types of soils in different climates. While I’m interested in this, I’m also interested in the impact these wars have on humanity. How will this affect anything that grows on the land? For how long? Can something be done about it without flushing all the inherent nutrients in the soil away?

At an email marketing summit I was recently at, I heard a few themes:

  1. Develop a relationship with the people on your list so you could better serve them
  2. Do things that work because the bottom line matters (or you won’t stay in business)
  3. Give more than you receive.

I can get behind every single one of those concepts. By going out there and taking risks I’m not only doing what I believe in, but also showing the world that a little risk is well worth the potential service I can do for the world.

Your business is no different. You risk rejection, alienation, and stress at the very least. If you stand up for what you believe in, you likely face anger, racism, and other various slights against humanity. How else can you change the world?

While the video quality is crap, the video itself can take your breath away and give you some ideas. The rest, I want to hear in the comments on how you can bring humanity back into your business.