Hunger is the basic need, it is the basic desire. It is hunger that motivates a human being to discover or innovate. Scarcity drives the human being to explore newer geographical territories. Human race in its original avatar was nomadic. They travelled from place to place in search of food, water and shelter. They would camp in a certain place till their basic necessities were available, once the shortage was created, they would move in search of new places. This ‘need’ to explore arose from scarcity. When things are available in abundance, why would a human being step out to search, when he is already in a comfort zone.
This zone provides him abundance and unlimited resources to take care of his needs, wants and desires. And if these necessities are in abundance his desires are subdued. If his stomach is full and if more is available, then his desire to explore doesn’t arise.
If this theory is linked to the business world, you will realise that this same hunger drives the entrepreneur to explore new opportunities. Comfort does not create new roads; it is the discomfort or the lack of necessities that drives the entrepreneur to set on to a new journey. Need/Hunger is the mother of invention.
Why would one go in search of food and water if it is abundantly available?
This fundamental is missing in the Family Business community. They have very quickly and easily forgotten how the business was built and how the wealth was created. The ‘first generation’ entrepreneur is mostly born in scarcity and this scarcity drives him to creation. The scarcity of food, shelter and resources keeps him on the toes. He has options, to continue to live a compromised life or to dream, bear the pain, strive hard, face difficulties, fail and rise again and achieve his dreams. Most successful entrepreneurs have gone tough this cycle. The scenario changes from the 1st and 2nd generation or sometimes between 2nd and 3rd generation. By this time business has done well and the family has created enough wealth.
Now the family lives in abundance, the current generation has never seen scarcity, never seen hunger. They have more than they need. Rather they are oblivious of their needs. The comfort and luxuries they are provided with become necessities. They are not living for survival unlike the earlier generations who first lived to survive and then to thrive. Necessities change from basics to luxuries.
Who is to be blamed for this? Who should take the onus? The 1st and the 2nd generation or the current generation?
We need to learn something from nature….trees, plants, fruits and flowers are exposed to the same weather conditions, there is no differential treatment given to them by nature.
When a baby giraffe is born the mother giraffe kicks the baby and trains it for survival, when the bird mother gives birth to the baby and it comes out the egg, the baby is pushed out of the nest. The mother doesn’t carry the baby on its wings. If nature has made us independent, then why are making our current generation dependent. One can Provide for the basics but the moment we provide for more than basics they will never have the ambition to grow.
Demand + Supply = Value
Whilst we advise many Business families, we come across this as a common challenge. The current generation is provided with some many luxuries that ambition to achieve dies before it is born. In economics I learnt two basic rules, first, demand drives (creates) supply and second, demand and supply (scarcity) define value. Over supply or excess supply will reduce the value and demand will less supply will create more value. Till the next generation is not mature, business families should keep the supply low whilst the demand is high, thereby creating a value for the needs. I feel, we as entrepreneurs need to realise that by providing more, we are in way killing the ambitions of the next generation.
In earlier times students went to Gurukul to study. All the students were given the same treatment, there was no difference between a prince and an artisan’s son. Gurukul taught the students (besides many other things) humility, respecting scarcity, and frugality. And this learning helped the prince to become a successful king.
Dependable and not Dependent:
Hardship, hard work, perseverance, dedication, and humility are a part of the learning curriculum and one who bypasses it, misses these important learnings which are foundation stones of the future. The survival of the multi generation model depends on how independent we make the next gen, equip them and make them capable. It is important to make the next generation dependable and not dependent.