10 Management Lessons from Ramayana – Lesson 8

10 Management Lessons from Ramayana – Lesson 8


Instances when you may forget Client Centricity

Hanuman leapt into the sky to meet his mates on the other side of the ocean and his sheer might pulverized the mountain from which he leapt. He roared with joy as he neared the shore, which was heard by Jambhavan, the elderly bear. Having understood that Hanuman was victorious in his mission, Jambhavan called the entire monkey army and made them assemble.

Hanuman landed on the shores with a thud and greeted Jambhavan the eldest in the group and Angada the monkey prince. The monkeys rushed to Hanuman and greeted him with joy. They offered him fruits, shoots and roots to mitigate his fatigue. They enquired about Sita with concern. Hanuman informed them that Sita was alive but sad. He also updated about his adventures in detail. The monkey rejoiced when Hanuman mentioned how he killed Aksha and set Lanka on fire.

Having finished his narration, Hanuman turned towards Jambhavan and Angada to discuss the future course of action. He recommended that they invade Lanka right away and return to Rama along with Sita. He expressed confidence in the might of the monkey army and in the valor of Angada. He requested permission from Jambhavan for the same.

Angada appreciated Hanuman and praised him. He was moved by the plight of Sita. He immediately took stock of the army and decided that they can overcome Ravana easily. He agreed with Hanuman that it was the right course of action as Sita was in agony. He thought Rama wants Sita back and what harm can there be in taking her right away! He also turned to Jambhavan for guidance and approval.

Surprisingly (or may be not) Jambhavan did not approve an immediate invasion! He agreed with Angada and Hanuman that Sita’s suffering should be mitigated as soon as possible. He was confident that their army was capable of victory. However, he drew their attention towards Rama’s thinking. He said any future course of action should align with what and how Rama wanted it to be done. No action can be taken without his consent. Both Hanuman and Angada agreed to his counsel and started preparations to go back.

Jambhavan’s decision to hold on, till they discuss with Rama is a great example of client centricity. It is noteworthy that he advises his team not to proceed, even when they are confident of success. This is crucial in ensuring that our execution aligns with what our client wants and not with what we think is right.

Often when we are executing a project we face daunting challenges. If we have the right skills, we also come up with a solution to overcome those challenges. If we know that the solution will work, then does it give us a right to go ahead and implement it? No. We have to take the client into confidence and get his buy in before we can proceed. This is to make sure that the client knows the impact of the decision.

It is obvious that none of us will proceed without an approval from a client, but what we should aim is to get a buy in by making the client understand the impact and not by overriding or circumventing their concerns. Though we all have the best interests of the client in our and the importance of client centricity is ingrained in us, there are a few instances when it might slip out of our mind, like:

  1. After a great success: After you solve a very challenging issue for your client, you may be tempted to replicate it across the system. It may sound ideal but if you do not consult your client before you do, you may be opening a Pandora’s Box. There could be challenges that you do not know, which the client may tell you only when probed. A detailed discussion with the client before you replicate a success will help you avoid such blind spots.
  2.  When the team is skilled & experienced: This is very common when you consider yourself the best in your industry. No doubt you are the expert, that is why the client has engaged you, but still you should remember that every client is unique. To underestimate the client’s angle may cost you a lot as you might be developing a misaligned solution.
  3.  When you have a perfect solution: This is the most tempting situation. You may have understood the problem and may have the perfect, aligned solution. But still you need to convince your client of its efficacy as there might be some tacit constraints which need to be considered. It could be simple issues like cost or schedule or deep issues like resistance to change. Understand that even the best solutions will fail if they are not positioned well.

What did the Vanara Sena (Monkey Army) do after getting back to their capital – Kishkintha? Wait till we find out in the next episode. Till then don’t hesitate to mail your views and comments to psmadankumar@gmail.com.

If you want to catch up what happened before this, read the previous post (Lesson #7) here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/10-management-lessons-from-ramayana-lesson-7-madan-panathula?trk=hp-feed-article-title-share

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