The expression is said often- it's not personal but it's just business. The chances are that the people who use this expression are not liars. It's really because most people trudge through their daily grind and to them, it really is just another resume, RFP or business plan to examine. Or perhaps it's another customer with a problem that needs a solution or the a supplier/buyer to negotiate with.
Of course, the expression can certainly be useful in that it can help ease the pain of failure or disappointment. All those needing employment now certainly know this.
But what if the expression was flipped and suddenly it's not just business, it's personal. Obviously, something that is personal requires a higher level of emotion labor. Although, it's that higher level of emotion labor that is necessary for doing work that's better than average- whether it be completing a project, meeting a deadline, pleasing an angry customer, meeting with a supplier or hiring people who are just as invested as you are.
Consider the work of a successful entrepreneur. Most new businesses are born out of a specific problem that an entrepreneur is able to recognize. But it's their impulse to internalize these problems which drive them to find and build a solution for the rest of the world.
Great things can happen when people take things personally. Even greater things can when they align themselves with people who take things as personal as they do.
What are you doing to nurture the emotion labor your employees invest in your company?