A DIVISION WITH MINIMAL ACRIMONY?
IS SUCH A MOVE EVEN POSSIBLE….
A division with minimal acrimony?
Gopal, the family’s patriarch, met his maker after a long, happy life of ninety.
As long as he was at the helm, there was outward peace at home and in business.
It was a family business with his two sons, a part of it from a young age. The trio was a riot, and together, they grew the business manifold.
Both the sons got married, and slowly cracks begun to appear. The wives were playing a subtle game of one-upmanship. Over the years, though, the fissures deepened and came out in the open. Gopal, leveraging the respect the two had for him, always played the mediator and kept a balance. A delicate equilibrium, in the house and in business.
Why IN business? In a family-run concern, the spouses hold significant sway. The brothers, still quite fond of each other, slowly had to keep their affection private.
The knives of the wives kept sharp and slowly moved to the tongues. Every push and pull has a breaking point, and all it needs is a tiny spark.
Gopal’s demise provided that spark.
The mandatory one year of mourning came to an end. As did the relationship under the simmering lava under the volcano, which finally burst through.
The wives wanted their own. Own house, own business, own everything.
The reluctant brothers sat at the dining table. The wives on either side. The silence was killing as much as the stares did. The two brothers couldn’t look each other in the eye and were fiddling around with cutlery.
The elder wife had to speak. And then speak up even more.
We’ve had a good run. Now it is time for us to go separate ways. Now.
The brothers were openly weeping now.
It had been decided. And silently agreed.
The ladies were now at the front and arguments of who gets what started, rather loudly, in stark contrast to the earlier silence. Name-calling, past-event-retelling, blaming all that happened as expected.
The brothers got up and walked away to their respective rooms.
The arguments in the dining room continued.
Right through the night till breakfast time.
No resolution in sight, uncle Brijesh was called in. The grand old uncle of the two men. A successful businessman in his own right, he used to be Gopal’s devil’s advocate and sounding board. Brijesh entered the house and didn’t need any explanations. The simmering tension over the years had been pronounced. He knew this day would come.
He called the two ladies and asked them to stop all cooking.
He asked the elder wife to make a list of all the assets. Everything, liquid and illiquid. Her task was to split the assets as evenly as she could. Brijesh uncle was around to assist with any queries.
The caveat was that the younger brother’s wife will look at the asset split and decide which set she would pick.
One to divide the assets. Another to pick one set.
A simple solution to years of arguments and bickering. The one who splits needs to ensure there is evenness and parity. If not, she could end up with the lower split.
The selecting person would have enough time to think and decide which set to pick
And of course, until the split and selection happened, nobody in the household would get anything to eat.
Hence a time limit was set automatically, and one could not drag their feet.
The granduncle knew that the best things are those kept very simple.
And of course, to look at history and tradition, where such problems have already been resolved.
In business, don’t we face such fights: A fight on marketing budgets and allocation? On resource selection and deployment?
Each person in the team should play Monopoly well. It is but a game of negotiations and give and take.
The best players keep it simple and earn a “get out of jail” card.
All stories in this “52” series:
1. The Cycle Wheel
2. The strong polish their fangs and the weak….
5. What happens to nice guys?
7. Growth: How did she do it?
9. When would you fire yourself?
11. What happened to soft-spoken Radha?
12. Simplicity needs common sense, not education!
13. Fighting all the time: When to decide?
14. Rushing to Conclu….
17. The importance of competition
19. Are you really ready?
Pravin Shekar is an outlier marketer, parallel entrepreneur and a raconteur.
mic @ PravinShekar.com
For creative collusions, join: http://bit.ly/JoinMyOutlierTribe
Pravin is the author of multiple books: http://tiny.cc/PravinShekarBooks
Devil Does Care, Marketing lessons from The Art of War, Marketing lessons from Mythology, Getting paid to speak, a Virtual Summit Playbook, Climb your way out of hell, a collection of travel pics/romantic poems, and stories from the heart!
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