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This article explores the relevance and application of Principles and Strategies discussed in the 3rd Century BC treatise, Kautilya’s Arthashastra, in Today’s Corporate World.

Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, observed that most family-run businesses do not last beyond the third generation. To reach the top is easy but to be there is the most difficult thing to do.

The biggest challenge for a successful businessman is to ensure maintenance of his wealth after he is dead and gone.

Children born with a silver spoon in their mouth would hardly understand the effort, pains and hard work their parents put up in to become rich. How are such people supposed to train their children?

Kautilya advices,

“For, like the piece of wood eaten by worms, the royal family, with its princes undisciplined, would break the moment it is attacked” (1.17.23)

Disciplining ones children is a must for every successful person. A certain level of control and direction has to be given to them. If not, they will become like a piece of wood eaten by worms and white ants which looks strong from outside but is very hollow within. The moment a small pressure is applied it breaks.

Few are steps that will help discipline the child of a businessman.

1. GIVE CHALLENGES

Challenge them. Challenge their thoughts and ideas. Initially it may seem difficult but that is the only way to get matured. Only when ones beliefs and ideologies are challenged does one come out of his comfort zone. Secondly, let them face challenges on their own. It is very tempting for parents to go out and help their children when they are in trouble. But hold on! It is only by struggling to break the shell of the egg that a bird emerges.

2. LEARN TO SAY NO

It important to love. But more important to teach the children to listen to the word NO. Born in luxury one may take things for granted. However, when blocks are created, one understands that everything is life is not easy.

3. INVOLVE THEM

It is important to give the children on-the-job training. Many successful businessmen practice this. Even when children are in their teens they are involved in board meetings, asked to work in the shop floor, and also travel back home in public transport like the regular employees.

Kumar Mangala Birla, one of the youngest business leaders who took charge of the group at an early age, attributes his success to the training provided by his father.

Let me share with you an anecdote.…

A multi millionaire was driving in a deserted region with his wife and son. As they stopped at a petrol pump the young son was asked to get down from the car. The father gave the hotel address to the son and said, “Reach there, we are going”. He neither had any money nor any sense of direction.

However, later - as a successful businessman himself, this boy recollected this experience as one of the best business lessons he had ever learnt: To find your own path.

Contributed by  - Radhakrishnan Pillai


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