This week marks the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the USA.
Certainly the world at large was never the same, but it’s worth asking, how did 9/11 affect how business was done?
Well clearly it altered the world economy in the short term, and the trading status of several middle eastern countries in the medium and long term.
But I think the 9/11 attacks also transformed how many people do business forever.
At a human level.
The biggest change I noticed in business after 9/11 was that people took the time to know each other, beyond the business at hand.
Conversations shifted from just being about work, to getting to know the person behind the title.
Sure money still mattered, but it now wasn’t just about money.
People had a new appreciation that the Vice President of Marketing they were meeting with was also a father of two.
Was this just a temporary shift? I don’t think so. Even a decade after that cataclysmic event, I still notice a deeper interest in the whole person when business colleagues get together.
This renewed interest in the person behind the corporate mask has undoubtedly improved business relations – both inside organizations and in their dealings with other companies. When we take the time to get to know the person we are dealing with, on a personal level, we usually end up doing more business with them. Why? Because our trust is deepened, our defences come down and we find points of commonality and shared interest.
The events of 9/11 substantially deepened these corporate inter- relationships, building the twin towers of caring and kindness.