Heralded as the biggest epic in history, Ramayana is a household name in India and other subcontinents. The sensational mythology is rife with values and lessons on relationships and promises. Not only does the story benefit on an individual level, but even companies, especially startups, can learn a lot from it.
Mentioned below are some of the lessons, which if adopted, can improve the chances of success for a startup:
Know your team’s strength –
Rama knew his core team well. For instance, Rama sent Angad (Bali’s son) for a peace talk with Ravan, knowing very well that Angad had great negotiation skills. Rama was also aware that Nala and Neel had a curse bestowed on them—that they couldn’t sink anything in water. Rama capitalized on this and used their unique ability towards building a bridge to Lanka. Like Rama, companies should focus on knowing their employees’ strengths to keep them engaged and perform better.
Develop Strategic Relationships for Future Partnerships –
Rama made friends with Sughreev, promised to make him king, and later followed through on his promise. In return, Sughreev lent his entire army to Rama in his fight against Ravana. Taking a leaf out of this strategic move, startups may initiate a goodwill towards client: they could work a project or two pro bono and in this way start to build trust with the client. The key is to give without expectation—especially when you are in the early stage of your business. A good client would be appreciative of the effort and may reciprocate with a long-term partnership.
Hire from Competitors –
One of the major reasons behind Ravana’s defeat was his brother Vibhishana, who was on Rama’s side. He gave away all major strategies of Ravana’s army, including tipping Rama on the right way to kill Ravana . If you’re a startup, hiring smart talent from self-same industry may help you update your own strategies and broaden knowledge; it may lead you to approach your audience in a different light.
Consult your team before making crucial decisions –
Ramayana shows multiple instances where Rama, Dashratha, and Bharata consult with their ministers about any major decisions. On the other hand, the egocentric Ravana is shown to act on his own and not listen to his ministers, including the instance where they urge Ravana to let go of Sita but he doesn’t, which in turn costs him his empire. This is an important lesson for startups: when management listens to their team, a range of perspectives is shared. It’s a win- win situation as not just the management benefits from it but the employees also feel heard and valued—which in general could lead to employees feeling positively towards their company.
Be true to your words –
“Praan Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye”— was one of the most important lessons from Ramayana. We saw many occasions where Rama kept his promises, be it going for 14 years of exile or giving Sughreev his kingdom back. Being honest and committed to your word plays a critical part in any organisation. This can include adhering to timelines given to clients and vendors, sending them assured deliverables, fulfilling promises made to employees, and so on. The company should look to follow through on their word so the trust is intact among all their stakeholders.
Never underestimate your competition –
Ravana never believed that Rama with his Vanar army could defeat him. He never thought that they could cross the sea and destroy his kingdom. Ravana in his arrogance underestimated Rama and all his moves. Similarly, a company needs to be able to correctly gauge the abilities and strengths of their competition. Self-confidence is different from arrogance: while former can lead you to success, the latter is directly detrimental to success.
Be patient and hopeful –
Last but not the least, a very important lesson from Ramayana is to be patient. When Rama knew that Sita was kidnapped by Ravana, he took his time processing the enormity of the situation: he couldn’t have just directly entered into a battle with Ravana and his Lanka. It took Rama several months but he utilized his time efficiently, building his army and focussing on strategies. Likewise, for a startup, it is necessary to be patient and not lose hope especially at a time when they are in their early stages. Committing a 100% to their goal and achieving results take time.
Ramayana is filled with timeless wisdom and a belief that good triumphs over evil. Incorporating the above lessons in your organization will promise a successful start and a fruitful sustenance. Ramayana is not an epic story, it’s a way of life!