How well do you keep your personal and business life separate? Are you able to separate the two relatively easy, or do they crossover too much to have significantly different views? Or to put it another way, if you had a personal issue with someone could you still work with them professionally?
I ask this as a situation arose today where I had to question whether I was in the wrong, someone else was, or was there even any wrong to start with. Okay, that sounded confusing – let me try again.
For anyone’s that’s been reading this blog or following me on Twitter for the last month or so, you’ll know that I founded a charity project for 2009, the 12for12k Challenge. While ambitious in its fund-raising aim, it’s also (to me) achievable, thanks to the way that myself and the partners that have joined me in the challenge are leveraging social media to raise funds.
Everyone involved in the project is giving their time for free – there’s no admin cost and any man (or woman) hours put in is on top of normal work and personal time. I don’t say this to make us sound like saints, although personally I’ll never be able to thank these people enough for the help they’re giving.
Rather, I say it to show that when it’s a good cause, people generally come out in force to help in whatever way they can. It’s called selflessness and it also goes to you kind people that are donating to each month’s chosen charity.
So today stunned me a little.
One of the hardest things with the 12for12k project (and, I’m sure, other non-profit causes) is raising awareness. Hitting people at the right time, driving traffic to the website for details, getting the word out – it’s not easy. Also, because of the economy and time of year, donations are a little slow at the minute. Which we always knew might happen – January is a tough month for countless charities.
To try and raise awareness, my partners and I are reaching out to our social media connections to ask if they’d help promote to their followers on Twitter. Or write a short blog post. Or record a video message for us, much like Jason Falls did. So far, everyone we spoke to has been brilliant – if they can’t do it right away, it’s definitely on the immediate future agenda.
Everyone apart from one.
Open and Shut Case.
One of the creative partners on the 12for12k team emailed a particular social media “power player” and asked if they’d be open to any of the above promotional suggestions. The response was, “No – I have an issue with someone on the team.”
Uh – run that by me again?
Now, unfortunately, I don’t know what the issue is or who it’s with since no further information was forthcoming, but I’m a little surprised and maybe just a tad disappointed.
This person prides themself on how open and helpful they are to other people, and helping others to attain the goals they set out to reach. Their blog has an excellent and loyal readership and their Twitter account is close to 20,000 followers.
So this is why I’m left scratching my head. I can’t see any issue this person would have with one of our team that they would put it above trying to change the lives of millions of people. I put the question out to Twitter, about personal issues clouding professional ones, and with few exceptions the answer was pretty unanimous – be professional, work around the issue and get the best results.
Of course, if it’s an ethical problem that this person has with either me or one of my partners, then I can understand their point of view. Ethics play a very large part in my personal and professional make-up, so I do understand.
Yet knowing the partners like I do, I just don’t see where an ethical issue could come into play. Which means it must be me, for some reason. Hopefully the person involved will respond to my email asking what the issue is and can it be resolved.
I know there will always be reasons for not liking someone, personally or professionally. I know there are times when you don’t want to work with someone. Yet for all these times, surely the greater good of a project should see you able to overcome personal feelings and get a professional job done.
Or is that asking too much? How about you – can issues be overcome or are the clouds too dense?