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Abhimanyu: You know, the advantage of being the boss’ son is that you can get to a position without too many hurdles. But then, you have to shoulder the responsibility. How much accepted you are depends on your attitude.
It’s also important to understand that change cannot happen overnight. You need to handle things very softly, very sensitively yet be assertive.
Sabari: Yes. Just because you are the CEO’s son doesn’t mean that everyone will accept you.
You have to earn the respect and acceptance of employees.
Maithri: May, I interrupt? I agree. You can’t just sit back and take it for granted that your employees will respect you, particularly if people like my father and my uncle are there to call the shots. Sabari you were saying…?
Sabari: If you are planning changes it has to be in a phased manner because, after all, it is human beings that we are dealing with.
Hannah: My biggest challenge, initially, was dealing with people, most of who were much older than I was; those who had many years of experience in the industry, those who are its movers and shakers.
As I quickly found out, if you are the Chairman’s daughter, either people come to you to complain or say nothing! The first thing I had to figure out was a way to break the ice.
It took me a year to do that. I now have a rapport with the employees and I can talk with my seniors also. Learning the business was actually the easy part.
Maithri: At the end of the day everything is to do with people, whether it is unskilled labour on construction sites or skilled craftsman in the store. I am much more open with the employees and I believe that is a change for the good. Ultimately, a democratic work environment is what we are all trying to usher or develop and maintain, isn’t it?
G. Abhimanyu Ganesh
Abhimanyu, a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, quit his high-flying corporate career with McKinsey to run the family business, QRS. The soft-spoken third generation entrepreneur is now a director of the company. Since he joined it six years ago, QRS has diversified its operations from electronics showrooms to retailing textiles and watches and running supermarkets, among others.
Sabari Rathen M.
Sabari graduated from the College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram, and worked with Larsen & Toubro in Chennai before coming back home to the city. A businessman of the fourth generation, the suave Sabari is the executive director of PRS Group and is responsible for its design and construction activities, besides the day-to-day running of the firm’s flagship engineering college and hospital.
A lawyer who graduated from Kerala Law Academy Law College in the city, sprightly Maithri is the executive director of new business initiatives for construction firm SFS Homes. A couple of years ago, the young mother spearheaded the company’s move into fashion retail by opening designer store Vedhika and is now leading from the front the company’s new hospitality division.
Hannah, the youngest in the group, in terms of age and experience, is nonetheless a chip off the old block. She holds a degree in business administration from American University, Dubai. For the past two years, svelte Hannah has been learning the ropes as a management executive at Technopark-based IBS, the multi-national IT firm started by her father, V.K. Mathews. On the side, Hannah also runs a successful homemade gourmet cake business under the label, SugarRush.