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5 Management Lessons from Mahabharta

Feb 28, 2017 03:00 IST
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Mahabharata is one of the oldest epics of Hindu mythology. It revolves around the versatile emotions and family relation that led to a battle among Kauravas and Pandavas for conquering the throne of Hastinapura. At 100,000 verses, it is the longest epic poem ever writtenand had been composed in the 4th century BCE or earlier.

The epic also holds great moral and ethical value that can inspire and provides a direction to the youth of our generation. The epic is filled with numerous incidents that can enrich and improvise the way in which people and organization function. Through this article, we aim to share with you those strategic incidents and tales that you can implement in your life and climb the ladder of success and prosperity.

5 Management Lessons from Mahabharta for MBA Aspirants/Graduates

Lesson 1: Strategy and Leadership

What is popularly known as seen as per the Mahabharta, Krishna emerged as a renowned strategist. In the battle Krishna ensues that he virtually leads the 7 divisions of Pandavas’ army to a decisive win against the 11 divisions of Kauravs’ army. It was Krishna who taught the skills of preparing the right strategy before venturing in the battlefield. He with his discourses kept on motivating Arjuna that he has to take on the role of the ‘Leader’ and fight against Kauravas.

In modern era, Stephen Covey also mentions in his book that “as a professional, you must pay heed to your ‘inner voice’”. While proposing the whole person paradigm, he focuses on the four dimensions of a person – spirit, body, heart and mind. The one listens to the voice of his/her conscience often excels in strategizing and pioneering leadership skills.

Lesson 2: Team Spirit

This aspect is the pillar of the Mahabharta. Kauravas could not muster up the complete support that was necessary for winning the battle. All the great generals of Kauravas, including Bheesma, Drona, Karna crusaded individual fights on the battlefield. However, Pandavas weaved one team that was directed by a single goal. All participated in decision making process and contributed their skills leading to a synergic effect.

In contemporary era, MBA aspirants are taught management lessons on ‘Synergy’ and ‘Esprit de corps’. This principle is one of Henri Fayol's 14 administrative principles that emphasizes on maintaining the group cohesion in the organization.

Lesson 3: Use the right model at the right time

In the days of the Kurukshetra war Krishna let Ghatotkach die so that Karna would not be able to use his Shakti astra to kill Arjuna. Krishna let Abhimanyu die in violation of all laws decided for the war so that even the Pandavas could break the laws to kill Duryodhana, Karna and Drona. Ethically these moves were wrong, but they were necessary to win the terminal goal of the battle.

In the strategic management also organizations are aware about various models, but depending upon the nature of the economic downturn and boom, the model is chosen and implemented to churn out the market share.  

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Lesson 4: Passion is the best teacher

Another prominent story about the devotion of 'Eklavya' the royal guru 'Dronacharya' is a milestone to achieve for MBA aspirants. Eklavya was passionate about learning the art of archery, but his potential guru 'Dronacharya' refused to teach him the skills. Therefore, he hid behind trees and watched him teach the art of archery to Pandavas and Kauravas. It is his passion that he learnt all the techniques of archery just by observing from far away without a teacher actually teaching him. Not just that, he becomes so good at it that Drona feels, he is actually better than (or at par with) Arjuna.

Hence, if you want to excel in a career of your choice then ignore the impediments and work industriously to achieve your goals. In the field of management, your Passion to succeed counts both academically and practically as well. Your commitment to fulfill the deadlines, your agility to learn new skills and flexibility in adjusting to the ever changing dynamic conditions of the business are required to sail through the waves of challenges. Therefore, remain passion-driven to succeed or else you will perish.

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Lesson 5: Excellence in Governance

When Indrapastha (City of Indra) was built, Pandavas ruled in a fair and just manner. They did not drift from the path of righteousness. There administration and management won the love and affection of their subjects. They ruled for thirty-six years on this path before falling prey to an unfair game of dice. It was this excellence in governance that eventually got lost and led to a heinous battle in Kurukshetra.

At present, Excellence in governance is a vital condition for a business leader to command respect in the marketplace and among their employees. It is vital for maintaining a healthy culture in the organizations and vent off the malice of office politics and other emanating aspects that breeds negativity. The HR department can ensure that certain initiatives taken by organization to ensure a culture of excellence in governance. The Tata Group, Google India, Intel, Wipro are some organizations that offer best environment and place to work for their employees.  

 The above mentioned 5 management lessons from the Mahabharta have summed up that in order to attain success in your goals and aspirations, you need to plan a direction and not deviate from it. Another crucial factor that can be understood from the holy epic is that if you chose management as a career, then it is not just your academic knowledge that will be responsible for your growth but also your people and time management skills that will play a significant role.

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