Ramayana: The Epic of Entrepreneurial Lessons Ramayana, the sacred book is read at most of the houses. This month is celebrated as Ramayana month and Ramleela is played in the country. The book describes the heroic efforts of Lord Rama to kill the evil demon Ravana. Though it is a religious book, it also teaches us management and leadership lessons. An entrepreneur can implement these lessons to see his startup grow as a successful enterprise.
1. Follow a code of ethics and be ready to sacrifice to follow it Rama brought ethical decision making in all areas of his life. There are many leaders who make a sacrifice once in order to build credibility and then use it to make unethical decisions later relying on the knowledge that their initial sacrifice would make them immune to attacks. When Ravana paraded to battle on the first day without sufficient preparations and was rendered weaponless by Rama, he was allowed to return to his fort because Rama followed the code of loyalty that an unarmed enemy should not be attacked.
2. Have a future oriented plan The objective of Rama was future oriented. He was ordered to stay away from Ayodhya for 14 years in a forest. This long term actions gave Rama enough time to plan, organize resource and strike against Ravana at an apt time so that mission could be completed without failure.
3. Stand courageously in the face of great adversity Following Sitas kidnap, Rama wandered poor and ruined in the forests searching for Sita. The Ramayana is full of touching details of Ramas sadness and his memory of Sita. Yet this grief did not prevent him from searching for partners even when the enemy was unknown. Rama maintained his courage even at the darkest hours and in doing so inspired his army to not only continue the unequal fight, but also win it.
4. Treat everyone equally Rama was a prince who interacted freely with the people. Rama did not have any biases regarding developing relationships with people of a lower social status. Thus he accepted the hospitality of the chief of the fisher folk and allied with the forest tribes who were out of the light of normal society. In fact, Rama gave them positions of equality. This was not only due to the war conditions since he maintained the same relationship when he won the war. Not surprisingly, he received great loyalty from all.
5. Consult subordinates on important matters and allow them to give their opinions freely When Vibhishan defected, Rama took him under his protection. He then had a talk with the various army chiefs some of whom disagreed with Rama. Instead of punishing them, Rama got them to accept his decision. Everybody felt that their opinions had been heard and that their objections had been clarified. Empowerment of subordinates to question his decisions was a key and unique quality of Rama which contrasted with Ravana who never allowed anybody to contradict him.
6. Be armed with knowledge, strategy, intelligence, skills, commitment These are the weapons that helped Rama win the mammoth battle and would help you in this exciting and demanding journey. Rama said to his army before entering into the battle, “Arm yourself with these and no war will be lost.” After the battle, his army—the group of men and monkeys defeated the heavily equipped Ravana and his forces.
7. Brand is bigger than the "owner" of the brand A big challenge on the way to Lanka was to cross the southern sea. People suggested inscribing the name “Rama” on the stone and then throwing it. Surprisingly it worked and a construction of the bridge started by monkeys ‘Nal’ and ‘Neel’. After sometime Rama decided to help and he threw a stone in the ocean. To everyone’s amazement, it sank. Everyone realized that it happened because the stone was not inscribed with “Rama”. Lord Rama was confident that he does not need to use his "brand" as he was THE "brand" and tried to repeat the magic. But it did not work. It was not "branded" with "Rama". This explains that a brand is always bigger than the owner of the brand. An entrepreneur should feel good when people recognize him by the name his company. He should feel happy that his brand is becoming bigger than him.
8. Be a storehouse ofstrength, energy, and passion Rama said that the horses of the chariot are strength, energy, and passion. In a battle and so in your entrepreneurial venture, you must have the strength to discriminate between the right and wrong, and the zeal and perseverance to keep working towards your goal.
9. Foremost ingredients of Entrepreneurship: Character, Courage, Ethics, Valor Rama told to Vibhishan that the four wheels of the chariot are character, courage, ethics, and valor. Character is the most essential thing for a leader. As an entrepreneur, you must know who you are and what you stand for and communicate the same to your people through actions rather than words. Leadership and respect doesn’t come from a business card. It is the ethics, the value system you embody that does the needful. Courage is the ability to take unpopular decisions, while valor is the courage to defend those very decisions.
Ravana’s brotherVibhishan, who had come toRama’s side questionedhim, “How will you defeat thishuge army with your limitedresources?” The reply whichRama gave is the greatestlesson ever for a leader. Hesaid, “You have to make sureyou have a clear vision, and acause worth fighting for.” Inthe case of Ramayana, Rama’scause was to rescue hisbeloved Sita and the visionwas to defeat the evil forces.
Utsaaho balavaanaarya naastyutsaahaat param balamSotsaahasya hi lokeshu na kinchidapi durlabham.4.1.121Enthusiasm has great strength. There is no greater strengththan enthusiasm. There is nothing which is not attainablein this world for the enthusiastic.