Management lessons from Mahabharta for a start-up

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Management Lesson for a startup form Mahabharta
Management Lesson for a startup form Mahabharta

1. Never takes vows or make promise before understanding the effect on future (Bhishma took vow and consequences were felt all through the coming generations)

This is very true in real life for a start-up. There is a tendency to over promise to its investors or it customers by the founders to move forward quickly. Founders should first understand the capacity and capability of the organisation and take the appropriate risks that they feel confident to deliver. They should also understand the impact of the vow on the operations and strategy of the organisation and on its future course. Sometime founder raise funds promising the growth or technology that has inherent limitations leading to tussle in future

2. Don’t be disrespectful to others (Draupadi was, towards Duryodhana, one of the key reason for Mahabharta).

This is very true for start-up, they just can’t afford to be arrogant and disrespect the first set of customers or employees. This happens quite often with start-ups with an early success. The is a make or break situation for the start-ups. Startup needs to build ties and partnerships even it might not be useful for immediate needs.

3. Never be ashamed of self (Dhritarashtra and Karna are good examples, one was ashamed of his capability while other of his past).

A start-up should never under-estimate itself. The founder should not be shy to be hands on and never be ashamed of working on the floor. Founders should believe in their capability to build capacity, the enthusiasm should never die and a start-up should never be shy to experiment with innovation.

4. Expectations of results are futile– A founder and his team have rights and power but his/their role is just to put-in best efforts, expectations of results are futile. (The famous verse from the Bhagwad Gita ).

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“कर्मणये वाधिकारस्ते मां फलेषु कदाचन । Karmanye Vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana

मां कर्मफलहेतुर्भू: मांते संङगोस्त्वकर्मणि” ।। Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurma Tey Sangostva Akarmani

You have the right to perform your actions, but you are not entitled to the fruits of the actions.

Do not let the fruit be the purpose of your actions, and therefore you won’t be attached to not doing your duty.[/cryout-pullquote]

For startups, the verse is THE statement, those who follow will get to distant shores

5. Don’t worry about your weaknesses, they are helping you in disguise. It is the time that builds and destroys. The founders of the startups should focus on the strengths and not on the weakness. As with  time things will definitely take shape. The strategy is best explained when it is executed, it is only while implementation weaknesses come out, use your mental aptitude to turn weaknesses into strengths, it is possible.

6. Don’t risk what you can’t afford to lose ( Take only calculated risk. Yudhishthira bid for all and won years of problems for his family). Don’t go for growth that you can’t manage. Do not raise the fund and dilute equity, if founders are not sure of ways to use the fund for the growth of the organisation

7. Be in a good company. Hire more talened than yourself and give them an environment to perform. Take out best from your talents, it require founders to be humble and flexible to hire more talented persons (Vidura, second smartest fellow in Mahabharat was rendered frustrated by Dhritarashtra, Karna was working for Duryodhan)

8. Never be angry. (Said by Vidura, “Krodh agar Vir purush pi jaaye, toh wah amrit samaan hai.”). A startup can be very frustrating experience if founders are not positive. Being negative and venting out can be very dangerous leading to employee exodus. It is better to be calm and manage the odds.

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