This is an excerpt from the book ‘Daughters of Legacy – How a New Generation of Women Is Redefining India Inc.’ by Rinku Paul and Puja Singhal.
Rinku Paul is an internationally certified life coach, a proponent of women leadership and an inclusive work environment. She has brought together her love for entrepreneurship and writing in her published works. Her previous works include Dare to Be: Fourteen Women Who Gave Wings to Their Dreams and Millionaire Housewives.
Having spent more than a decade living the corporate life, strategizing on how best to marry business and people as an HR specialist, Puja Singhal decided to take a break to focus on her family and other love, writing. She is the co-founder of a writing studio, The Muse, and has published two books, Dare to Be and Millionaire Housewives, along with Rinku Paul.
What are the challenges and perks of handling age-old legacies?
If you come into a position of power through a position of privilege, how do you make sure that you earn respect, more so if you are a woman?
These and many more questions are what Daughters of Legacy seeks to answer through the stories of twelve successful women who grew up with strong business lineages.
Here are six things you can learn from Daughters of Legacy
- Do not get bogged down by gender roles
Being an only woman in the boardroom may be intimidating at times. Some might expect a woman to act in a ‘softer’ and delicate manner with regards to big decisions. The expectation accompanied with her gender may come in her way of performing the task at hand. However, while handling the family legacy, she needs to be ‘forceful’ and ‘direct’ in certain situations. She has to be firm about her idea and vision and not get bogged down due to gender stereotypes.
- You have to create your own identity
While joining a legacy business, it is important for a person to establish his/her identity. According to Divya Modi Tongya, the co-founder of Smart Group Global, a legacy bearer “‘must be qualified for the role and must come prepared to put in the hard work.’” A woman joining the family legacy may be viewed as a “‘heiress stereotype’”. In order to gain the respect of others, legacy bearers must add value to the business and create a name for themselves at their own merit.
- Never lose faith in your vision
The vision of the person leading a company, in turn, determines the future pathway of the company. There will be times when no one will support the ideas of the visionaries of the companies. However, the visionaries will have to fight against all odds to turn their dream into reality and not bow before the demands of others. In order for their business to grow and succeed, they must have faith in their ideas and instincts. They must learn from their past failures and use these learnings to create a better business strategy for the future.
- Having practical knowledge about the family business always pays off
In Daughters of Legacy, a mutual aspect among these heiresses is that they have grown along with their family business. From a very young age, they started attending meetings and product launches with their fathers. Observational learning proved to be an invaluable asset for them. Being associated with the family business since their childhood gave them the clarity to understand the vision and values on which their respective businesses thrive.
- Always be open to change and criticism
The trick to succeed in business is to expose the business to change. Exploring e-commerce platforms, adapting to the changing market dynamics may be a few crucial elements which can affect a company. In order to conduct any business in an even better manner, constructive criticism should be made a regular part of the business routine. Most importantly, one should think with a clear head and never let his/her ego come in the way of making a decision.
- Start from the bottom and move to the top
In order to understand a legacy business, start from the basics. Analyze the smaller aspects of the company. An understanding of the micro-units is invariably connected to the macro decisions being taken in the boardroom. From learning how to change a tyre to differentiating between a petrol engine and a diesel engine, these daughters of legacy have explored every realm of their respective businesses before climbing the hierarchy.
Read ‘Daughters of Legacy – How a New Generation of Women Is Redefining India Inc.’ by Rinku Paul and Puja Singhal to know interesting life anecdotes of 12 women entrepreneurs who took charge of age-old legacies.