6 Lessons for Entrepreneurs from Bahubali 2

I thought of writing this post almost two weeks back when I saw the movie for a second time but it would have given up key twists of the plot that would ruin the experience of those that hadn’t seen the movie.  I (now) believe that most of the moving going population has seen the movie so it is an appropriate time to share this.

 

Bahubali 2: The Conclusion has become the highest grossing Indian movie of all time. I have watched the movie twice and it is a thorough entertainer. An engrossing story line that goes through several twists and turns before leading to its good prevails over evil conclusion with lavish sets and mouth gaping action scenes. I must concede however, that many portions of the movie were little no..er very farfetched even for someone like me who leaves logic at home when I watch a movie. However much the laws of physics were distorted the end product is a spectacle!

Since the movie revolves around the quest of becoming the king of a mystical and powerful kingdom of Mahishmati so there are several lessons that an entrepreneur can learn and apply to their own quest for the mystical unicorn.

 

  1. Under promise overdeliver

A common theme of the movie is the massive promises the characters keep making, at the spur of the moment, to each other with no prior planning on how those promises will be completed.

Sivagami promises Bhallala Deva that he will marry Devasena without consulting Devasena about her wishes. Devasens refuses to marry Bhallala Deva which puts Sivagami in a tough spot and she makes a series of mistakes heal her ego that ultimately culminates in Bahubali abdicating the throne and the evil Bhallala Deva becoming king.

Overpromising entrepreneurs consistently disappoint their team members, cofounders, investors – even their customers. So, it is important that entrepreneurs err of the side of conservatism and overdeliver on their promises – not the other way around.

 

  1. Praise publicly criticize privately

Devasena calls out Sivagami on public platforms on multiple occasions, even going to the point of calling her a person with limited brain capacity. That forces Sivagami to respond to her public humiliation by pushing away Devasena and Devasena’s husband (Bahubali) from herself and the throne and it ultimately ends up with Devasena & Bahubali being banished from the kingdom and later to the widowing of Devasena.

Public platforms should not be used to air out as events can escalate quickly to devastating and undesirable outcomes. Entrepreneurs could utilise private spaces for criticism so that even if the events escalate the outcomes can be controlled and both sides can rectify their mistakes when hot heads cool down.

A public platform is best utilised for praising each other and showing unity.

 

  1. Overcommunicate

Bahubali follows his stepmother’s (Sivagami) advice by standing up for dharma even if that meant he had to make her promise to Bhallala Deva of getting Devasena married to him… Shockingly Bahubali does not remind Sivagami that he is following lessons that were taught by Sivagami when she was training him for the throne. Not communicating the logic behind his decision, Bahubali leaves the door open for Sivagami to make up her own assumptions and she flies into a rage asking Bahubali to give up his throne triggering off a domino effect that ends in ruin for the Mahishmati kingdom.

Many entrepreneurs (and people too) have a habit of delivering partial messages expecting the other side to understand what has not been said. This gaps in communication leads to decisions made with limited understanding therefore results can wildly different than anticipated.

An entrepreneur should communicate to the point over overcommunication so that all the members of the team are on the same wavelength as the entrepreneur’s train of thought.

 

  1. Get rid of cancer on the team quickly & aggressively

Kattappa knows that Bhallala Deva and Bijjaladeva (Bhallala Deva’s father) are plotting to kill Sivagami and even though Kattappa knows that information he does not divulge that to Sivagami letting the negativity foster around the palace. The father-son duo join hands in spreading their tentacles to execute their plans by recruiting key personnel and distorting reality for Sivagami, ultimately leading to decades long tyrannical rule that ruins the kingdom.

When white blood corpuscles do not attack cancerous cells, they will lead to formation of tumours which ultimately overwhelm the defences of the body and kill the body. Similarly, members of the venture who are making the lives of other team members difficult through the spread of discouraging messaging, undisciplined work styles or questionable ethics should be cut out from the team quickly and effectively.

Letting them fester around the venture will turn even the good & productive team members cancerous.

 

  1. Don’t boast about your plans before they are completed

Bhallala Deva succeeds in hoodwinking Sivagami to the point that she orders Kattappa to kill Bahubali. Bhallala Deva watches Kattappa kill Bahubali and desecrates Bahubali’s dead body whilst boasting about how he outsmarted everyone to get to the throne and get Bahubali killed. Kattappa narrates what he hears to Sivagami who gets on a mission to protect Bahubali’s son in fact she sacrifices her own life to save the newly born child. The child (Bahubali II) avenges his father’s death by first killing Bhallala Deva’s son and then Bhallala Deva himself.

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch is a phrase taught to all of us in school but many times entrepreneurs that taste initial success let that excitement ride up their medulla oblongata into their brains. They boast about their success in the media, throw massive success parties and start drinking their own koolaid.

All the attention leads to them taking their eyes are off the ball before they realise it the competition has caught up with serious momentum. The competition eventually eats up the space that the entrepreneur should have dominated but all that remains are the remnants of what could have been a great venture.

Keep your plans under wrap until they are completed is a key lesson that all entrepreneurs will be well advised to follow.

 

  1. Don’t make decisions under duress

The movie has many scenes where the characters make decisions under stress and at the spur of the moment.

Sivagami orders Bahubali to give up the throne for Bhallal Deva because she feels offended when Bahubali scolds her for making a promise that she cannot deliver on. She makes an emotional decision on the spur of the moment that is against the wishes of the kingdom that she rules on and against her own earlier decision that was well thoughtout. Sivagami’s impulsive decisions leads to the assassination of Bahubali, her own death, ruins the flourishing Mahishmati kingdom as it falls in the hands of a soulless tyrant.

There are many occasions in the entrepreneurial journey that the entrepreneur may feel pressured to decide on a matter and to make it immediately but I have found that that is rarely ever true. Infact the decisions made under duress ultimately come back to bite the entrepreneur in the butt and years of regret. So, it is important that all the facets & tenets of a decision be thought of before making move because a move once made cannot be taken back!