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Management Lessons from Mahabharata


Mahabharata is considered as the largest epic of the world. It's said that whatever is not there in Mahabharata is not anywhere
else. So, we will try to find out some intricate management messages that are relevant even today. Our main focus would be
the Great War that changed the course of the Third Age of Man.

The war is a kind of target that you have to achieve. So, there are many things that will need planning. You need to plan the
execution process, limitations, team members and leaders, etc.

Preparing for the target

Karna went to subdue other kings so that he could get their wealth. On the other hand, Arjuna, Bheema and Yudhisthra set out
to acquire Divyastras, strength and strategic wisdom.
Management Lesson: 1

Try to tap new opportunities instead of simply focusing on killing your competition. If your competition dies, there is only a
smaller growth in your business because there would be another one in a short while. Instead, if you go for newer
opportunities, you may have added strength to your business.

Kaurvas had a few allies; while Pandavas, worked to garner more allies so that they can gain more support. They established
various relationships through marriages.
Management Lesson: 2

While working on a big project, it is good to extend to other people who can contribute in whatever way or portion. The more
allies you have working for the achievement of your target, the more chances you have.

Kauravas had a one-man leadership hierarchy. The whole of the army was under one person's command. On the other hand,
Pandavas had different generals directing the operations.
Management Lesson: 3

Share your responsibilities when you have a huge target. It is good to have different people looking after different departments
and answerable for their own tasks. If you have only one person making all the decision, things could turn messy.
Team Spirit

This is where Kauravas lacked a great deal. All the great generals of Kauravas including Bheesma, Drona, Karna, Shalya, etc.
were fighting individual fights. However, Pandavas had only one team bound by one goal. All participated in decision making
process and contributed their skills.
Management Lesson: 4

It's important to have a good team that gels nicely. More importantly, all the team members should be given due consideration
while making decisions. Individual goals are good but team goals can be met if everybody contribute his/her lot.
Individual Motives

Kauravas had individual motives but they could not help the group motive. Only Duryodhna wanted the war. While Pandavas
had their individual vows and oaths to keep, they worked towards the common goal.
Management Lesson: 5

Align individual goals and skills to the group. It will help you get maximum output because every individual is pumped to fulfill
his/her personal goal, which in turn is fulfilling the common goal.

Commitment is very important. Kauravas were short on this. Almost every one of them had personal bias and points where
they said they would not be committed to the war. While Pandavas were committed wholeheartedly and were willing to do
anything to achieve the common goal even if it means laying aside personal agendas.

Management Lesson: 6

If the people in the team are not committed to lay aside personal preferences, the team won't work. Make sure the common
goal is achieved even if it means keeping the personal goals pending.
Right Managers

Pandavas were very good in this. They knew how to inspire, how to take benefits from faltering enemies, how to expose their
weakness and whenever needed seek guidance from others.
Management Lesson: 7

Put right people at right places. If the managers or team leaders are not able to inspire or provide directions, the team won't
function effectively. This is surely one of the most important aspect of any management team.
Women Empowerment

Kauravas were all patriarchal structure. Gandhari was not heard and there was no participation of women in decision making.
On the other hand, Pandavas relied heavily on this--Kunti, Draupadi, and the mothers of other warriors like Hidimba (Bheema's
wife) and Subhadra (Arjuna' wife).
Management Lesson: 8

It's important to tap the potential of your better half. Masculine traits of aggression and dominance should be balanced with
harmony and sustenance.


So, it's good to build teams, have right kind of managers, group goals over individual goals, women participation, inspiration,
Any other relevance?

Do you find other similar lessons that you can share with us? I would love to hear what you have to say about the timelessness
of this epic and its teachings. Share your ideas.