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, ackowledgement.

– by Vivek Kumar

Originally at

Fri 20 Dec 13


Find Your Inner Mandela: A Tribute and Call to Action


Don’t just mourn Nelson Mandela. Learn to be Nelson Mandela.

He was the consummate turnaround leader. As the first democratically-elected president of post-apartheid South Africa, he took on and reversed the destructive symptoms of decline, a larger version of what goes on in any organization or community sliding downhill – suppression of information, group vs. group antagonisms, isolation and self-protection, passivity and hopelessness. He began the turnaround with messages of optimism and hope, new behaviors at the top (he even cut his own salary), and new institutions that created more communication and accountability. He created a new constitution with a participatory process that included everyone. He reached out to former enemies, visiting the widow of a particularly odious apartheid leader for tea. He ensured diversity and inclusion of all groups in his Cabinet. He brought foreign investment back to South Africa and empowered the disenfranchised black majority to take positions in those enterprises.

He knew that he was an icon and shaped a culture for others. His goal was to change behavior, not only laws. The head of what was then Daimler Chrysler South Africa, who had returned to his native South Africa after apartheid ended, motivated a hostile, unproductive black work force by engaging with them in their dream of building a Mercedes for Mandela. This was all about culture, not about financial incentives. People raised their aspirations because Mandela encouraged them.

He also understood the power of forgiveness. Despite 27 years in prison, he emerged with his sense of justice intact — but no discernible bitterness. He maintained his faith in people no matter what, that people would come right in the end, he said. His Truth and Reconciliation Commission was a masterful organizational innovation, permitting people to come forward to admit atrocities and then go forward to make a fresh investment in future improvement. He made the rare transition from revolutionary to statesman. He resisted pressure to simply switch roles from oppressed to oppressor and instead focused everyone on pride in the nation they shared and on working together for larger common goals. His wearing of the colors of the formerly all-white rugby team in South Africa’s 1995 victory over New Zealand was a dramatic healing gesture.

He didn’t cling to power. He empowered. He announced during the election that he would serve only one five-year term – a remarkable action not only in Africa, a continent riddled with corrupt leaders who refuse to cede power, but also for someone who had waited so long and given so much to reach that position. Some observers faulted him for this, because his successors were no Mandela. But he made his point – that many must serve and become leaders, and that a nation is larger than any one person.

He continued to advocate for service after he left office. He asked former U.S. President Bill Clinton to help bring a national service program like AmeriCorps to South Africa. That was the start of City Year South Africa in Johannesburg, featuring young people working in schools to improve outcomes for those who had been left behind. As a City Year trustee, I saw firsthand the positive energy Mandela unleashed.

In a mere five years in office, he couldn’t transform everything. But he could start programs and create institutions that would shift other people’s actions to a more productive path. He could serve as a role model, conveying messages through his personal actions and his words about what kind of behavior, what kind of culture, would characterize the new South Africa he envisioned.

Mandela’s legacy is larger than racial justice and more widespread than his country or continent. His legacy lies in the lessons about leadership he left for all of us. We can pay tribute by channeling him: Discouraged because things don’t break your way? Consider Mandela’s 27 years in prison. Unwilling to give up the perqs of power? Recall Mandela’s no-more-than-five-years promise. Tempted to crush the competition, eviscerate enemies, or publicly humiliate those who make mistakes? Find your inner Mandela, forgive, and move on.

As children, many of us read the powerful, disturbing novel about the evils and tragedies of apartheid in South Africa, Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton. Now the beloved country cries for the death of the leader who ended apartheid. Imagine a Mandela for the Middle East, or multiple Mandelas in the U.S. Congress. There would be more collaboration, more truth and reconciliation, more focus on common goals rather than divisiveness. That would be a gift for the world. The best way to mourn Mandela is to start a movement to transform the culture of leadership, and ourselves.

– by Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Originally at


Fri 13 Dec 13

11 Tips For Tech Etiquette In Office You Need To Know

As tech invades more and more of our personal and work lives, it is increasingly important that you are aware of these tech etiquette in office tips.

1. Mobile Phone Use

Everyone talks loudly when they are on a mobile phone–fact. There’s no avoiding it, as noise on either end often makes being heard and hearing others difficult. Good tech etiquette in the office suggests that you should consider doing the following:

– keep the call short,

– move to an area where you will not be disturbing others,

– arrange a call on a landline (better call quality means less shouting).

2. Social Network Use

Unless you are the social network tzar for your company or it’s part of the job, tech etiquette in office suggests that you should keep your social network use to a minimum. Find out about what is permissible by having a read through any IT policy and procedures. Take care to note whether your computer use is being monitored and limit social networking to accepted points in the day (usually lunch break).

3. Surfing The Web For Fun

Leave surfing the web for when you are at home or on breaks. Surfing web sites that interest you may help kill a few hours, but it also can prevent you from getting things done. Avoid this distraction at all costs and focus on the task in hand.

4. Device Charging

It is bad tech etiquette to unplug a device that is charging for someone else. Chances are, you will forget to plug the thing back in and may cause your colleague issues when they are out on the road or in a meeting. Instead ask to swap the charging device out or hunt for another plug socket.

5. Instant Messaging Abuse or Misuse

Instant Messaging (IM) has become an increasingly popular way of helping colleagues stay in touch. Less formal than an email, it allows short, sharp communication that otherwise might have needed a phone call. Be to keep your messages short and to the point sure when you are using IM. There is no harm in having your personality shine through in your messages, but steer clear of waffle and joke messages as you are likely to get ignored by colleagues when you actually need them to respond quickly.

If you receive a message, it is expected that you should reply quickly and succinctly–assuming that you are not in a meeting or having a person-to-person conversation.

And don’t use it to keep up to date with friends on the company dime.

6. Using Laptops in Meetings

Keep your laptop use in any meetings to a minimum. Only use your laptop for the benefit of the meeting and don’t start working on something else. If the meeting is focused and keeps to an agenda, there is no reason you should need use this as an opportunity to surf the web or respond to email.

If you find yourself in meetings where you could be more productive elsewhere, do your bit and excuse yourself. Don’t start messing about with your laptop and distract others in the process.

7. Printer Supplies

If you happen to run the printer out of toner or ink, do not leave it for someone else to replace. Do it yourself. If you end up using the last of the printer supplies from the stock cupboard, make sure you tell or email the person responsible for ordering replacements. Don’t assume that someone else will sort it. Same goes for paper or if you see any unusual flashing lights on a printer (they usually mean something).

8. Large Print Jobs

If you are going to send a large print job to a printer that will clog it up for more than a few minutes, do this:

– print on a printer that is rarely used, so it will not be noticed

– print at a time when others won’t mind,

– print after you’ve given your colleagues a warning.

9. Work Email Is For Work

Don’t use your work email to keep in touch with friends and family. This is for use for work only and can help you keep a good separation between work and home life. With the proliferation of great email services available from the likes of Google, Microsoft and Yahoo there is no reason why you would need to use your work email in this way. Instead set up a separate account.

10. Bringing Viruses To Work

Easier said than done. Make sure that any computers at home have up-to-date antivirus protection and regularly scan any USB drives that might come in contact with both work and home machines. Better still if you can avoid it, do not use USB drives for moving data between devices; instead, use cloud services, as these have built in virus-checking to prevent you from inadvertently spreading viruses on these services.

11. Get To Know Your IT Policies

Spend some time reading the IT policies for your work place. Whilst there are common threads across most businesses, there will be some nuances that are particular to your job and working environment. Your employer is entitled to monitor your IT use if explicitly stated within policies that are reference by your employment contract. So getting to know what you can and can’t do may at least save you a little bit of embarrassment or it may save you your job.

– by Gary Judge

Originally at



Fri 06 Dec 13