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Topic: What am I missing?
LivingLife
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What am I missing?
on: January 5, 2011, 13:33

Almost twenty years ago I purchased a business. My wife worked there with me. Shortly after my ownership I offered my brother an opportunity to become an equal partner with no out of pocket investment. My intention was to allow both of us to prosper from this endeavor. He wanted his wife to also work at the company. As it turned out he had a very different vision of how to run the entity. At the time and to this day I feel his business perspective was flawed. I tried to no avail to reason with him regarding how as owners you have to suck it up and forget the little things and focus on the big picture. For example, he felt if we worked on a project outside of normal business hours, our customers should pay an upcharge 1.5 times our normal rate. I felt that we were competing with businesses that operated 24/7 with no upcharges and these upcharges would cause us to lose clients. His wife seemed to understand my concept. I felt it was important to get him to understand my logic and reasoning of running this business. There was stress between all parties. After months I told him the company was mine before I invited him, told him I wanted him to leave and paid him a year’s wages. This man was my best friend and I love him. I cried for a week and this still bothers me today.


How could I tell him I love him yet throw him out of the company? He is a great man and wonderful brother. This was heart wrenching. Even though we appear cordial, I feel this situation had an adverse effect on our relationship.


What am I missing?


moller
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Re: What am I missing?
on: January 8, 2011, 10:20

Dear friend,


I am sorry to hear about your personal predicament with your brother. Family things can sometimes get very heavy, simply because they are family things.


My sense is that business partneships are always treacherous affairs. One starts out with the best intentions, and more than often, discovers that the way of a business partneship is not the way of human relationships. Human relations can be modified, experimented with, mutually explored and generally be given wide scope for adaptation and reconcilliation.


With a business it is different. The business has its own reality. It is establsihed to make money in as honorable way as possible. In this it has its base-line. Naturally one would strive to maintain good personal relationships within the business environment, but the profit motive of the business determines its rules of operation. To compromise this is to compromise the foundadtion of the business venture.


So, as your case with your brother, when his approach to business became detrimental to the existence of the venture itself, you had two choices: see the business go down because of poor management decisions, or let go of the source of such poor decision making. You seem to have had no choice. Naturally such a decision would impact on the personal relationship, especially from the point of view of the one who feels himself wronged, but such is life.


If there is any lesson to be learnt here, perhaps it may be to be very clear in future why you would take someone into your business. If this is not based on fundamentally sound business principles, rather not consider it. Altruism is seldom a good basis for such a decision – in fact, this is probably true for all human relationships.


You are missing nothing, dear friend. You are only experiencing the pain of an original decision based on something unrelated to the thing it directly impacted on.


If your brother does not understand your position, perhaps it is because he prefers not to understand the simple fact that, wonderful guy as he may be, he may not be suited to the kind of business you were running. Nothing personal. Just a simple fact. Perhaps he is the one missing something? Or who finds it comfortable to keep missing something?


Warm greetings and good luck with resolving the problem!

Moller.


LivingLife
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Re: What am I missing?
on: January 8, 2011, 14:58

Dear Moller,

Thank you for taking the time to respond. When I originally wrote the post it was more based on the notion you presented regarding free-floating morality. The night before the post I thought I had an insight regarding your concept. I thought there would never be any reason or situation where I would not be able to apply free-floating morality with my darling wife. But as I was righting the post I thought of the situation with my brother and pondered what would have happened if my business partner were my wife.

Then I questioned why I would even be concerned with this situation that occurred so many years ago. Do I question this to satisfy me ego, convince myself, this forum, or who knows who that my decision was correct?

To my recollection I have never really had a heart to heart discussion with my brother about how he felt or feels to this day regarding the business dealing of the past. I was prepared to write him an email and flat out ask him. As I started the email I elected to change the content of the email to present day, right here, right now. Since I cannot change the past and it might do more harm than good to rekindle hurtful memories. Below is the email I sent him and his response.

Dear Ric,

I just was thinking about you this morning and wanted to let you know that you are a wonderful brother, a great person, and that I love you.

Love,

Bill

Bill,


Thanks so much and the thought it mutual. Hope you had a good trip, and all went well. Mike stopped by with Jason and Chelsea on Christmas morning. I had made some cinnamon rolls and he really enjoyed them. Hope your I Mac is working out well for you.


Ric


In regards to this issue, I will no longer be concerned with the dealings of the past and will focus on the present. Experiences like the one I described have led me to many conclusions regarding relationships both business and personal. Regarding free floating morality, I feel confident that today I am more capable of applying this concept because I will refrain from allowing myself to get positioned in situations like the one described.

I have discussed free-floating morality with my wife. She informed me of a situation during the tsunami. A woman was clenched to a tree during flooding waters with two children and could only save one. If circumstances dictate that one is too far away to save the choice is easy and involves little decision-making. If both children were within grasp and a choice had to be made, that would be difficult to live with.

My eldest brother was in his mid thirties. After 2 failed marriages he asked my mother to move back in with her and my father. She denied the request. He later committed suicide. She carried emotional guilt over that until the day she died.

If this type of discussion is not appropriate for this forum please just say so. To me they are issues of life’s journey.


moller
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Re: What am I missing?
on: January 9, 2011, 18:32

Dear friend,


You are most welcome to post these kinds of personal incidents on this forum. And you are right, it does bring real problems we all have into the open.


As a sideline note, it is sometimes difficult, if not impossible, for others who do not share one's background to fully grasp exactly where the real issues are which may not be immediately apparent from the anecdotes described. Of course one could only try to say something meaningful or at least relevant to what has been shared.


But what I sense from what you describe, using the open field approach to issues, you seem to arrive at your own 'answers' guite adequately. Once one uses a general 'principle', such as 'free-floating morality', the whole thing opens up, and one realises that what life expects of us is to remain wide awake and wide open to the challenges it presents us. We learn to improvise as we go along, and this goes not only for morality. It becomes an open attitude to life, where we become participants, rather than second-hand peddlers in culturally accepted notions of truth, justice, decency, humaneness, and the art of living in general.


The example you use of starting to write to your brother in the past tense, and then shift intuitively and wisely into present gear, says it all. You remained open in the moment to the challenge facing you, and this openness allowed you to improvise as your letter was unfolding. What came out of it is really very beautiful.


Thank you for sharing this with us.


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