In the early 90s, a lovely girl called Monika from a prominent business house was engaged to marry Mahesh (a scion and inheritor of one of India’s biggest business families). Theirs was to be the marriage of the decade.
Monika’s father – Gulshan was the head of the family and managed the joint family business that included his brothers. One of the Gulshan’s younger brothers Sushant was not on good terms with Gulshan and was constantly litigating with him to separate the family assets and split the family fortune. Theirs was a raging bitter battle that had carried on for years.
On the wedding day of Monika and Mahesh, the baraat (a marriage ceremony in which the bridegroom goes to the wedding venue of the bride) had begun proceeding to Monika’s house. Just when Mahesh (the bridegroom) was about ten minutes away from his bride’s building, Sushant (the uncle) did something very dramatic!
He climbed out of his flat window, stood on the ledge and threatened his elder brother Gulshan to agree to split the business failing which he would jump out, kill himself and derail the marriage. Something so horrendous had never happened before and would mar the reputation of Gulshan’s family forever.
Gulshan tried reasoning with Sushant and politely told him to respect the occasion and the family reputation, but Sushant would not yield. The baraat was just two minutes away.
Gulshan then said something that I can never forget. He looked at Sushant, folded his hands and said ‘JUMP’.
Sushant was dumbstruck. He never jumped and climbed back inside. The marriage did go down as the marriage of the century.
The lesson to learn here is to have the courage to say ‘Jump’. To anything in your entrepreneurial or life’s journey that puts you in a corner.
Employees, Colleagues, Clients and Co-Partners.
All of them have individual aspirations. They partner with you since their vision and yours is the same. However, things change and that’s when you have to be unyielding in your conviction as well as in your beliefs.
In each appraisal cycle, we face challenges, when our co-workers expect larger than affordable salaries. You have to have the courage to take the risk of losing them rather than ruining your business. Most of the times when you recommend your colleagues to quit and move on, they stay back.
Clients always test the limit to which you will bend, negotiate and yield and will pretend to not be interested in your proposal. But when you really walk away, trust me, they will come back running.
I still remember a pre-board meeting in which one of my investors asked my CEO to change the business direction fundamentally and present it to the board. He refused. The investor indicated that he would fire the CEO and that he had the support of the other investors if he didn’t do as instructed. My CEO asked him to ‘Jump’. In the board meeting the next month, we went through the usual rigors and my CEO and I were dreading the dismissal motion to come up any moment. It never did. The investors stayed on the ledge and climbed back in.
(Names of people in the marriage example have been changed to protect privacy).