Dhirubhai Ambani and the creation of Reliance Industries is a real life fairy tale. A rags to riches tale about a man who was desperate to push himself out of the drudgery, Dhirubhai built Reliance from scratch. The son of a school teacher from a tiny village in Gujarat, Ambani worked every day to make sure he did not live the life his parents did. Through overcoming struggles and hard work one day at a time, Dhirubhai Ambani rose from a one bedroom chawl to having a personal valuation of over $ 3 billion. Ranked as the 138th richest person in the world by Forbes in 2002, these success lessons from Ambani are worth noticing!
1. Always think of how to be revolutionary
One of the reasons Dhirubhai Ambani was able to make Reliance Industries so great was because of how he kept looking for the next big thing. When he was working in Yemen at the age of 16, he realised oil as a field would work really well in India. However, oil wasn’t the only field in which Ambani excelled. One of the other steps he took to be a revolutionary leader was making communication through cell phones not just a luxury, but an affordable commodity. Known for tapping into fields which people didn’t think a viable source of revenue, Ambani started turning one idea after another to a massive success! If he had not thought of tapping into unexplored ideas, he would not have become the forebringer of change in India!
2. Think big, start small
One of the primary rules Ambani lived by was to think big, but start small. While Reliance is a massive conglomerate today, it had a very different beginning. The first Reliance corporate office was a 350 square feet room. Armed with one telephone, one table, three chairs and two office assistants, the first office was a partnership between Ambani and his cousin, Champaklal Damani. Despite the failure of the partnership, Ambani refused to stop working on making his dreams come true. A year later, undaunted by the failure, Ambani founded Reliance Industries. If he had gone all out and started the Reliance Industries from the very word go, success may not have been the same had it not been for Ambani testing the waters first!
3. You can learn the most from the risks you take
Some of the greatest lessons you can learn in life is by taking risks. Just like Ambani said, “The person who doesn’t take risks will not have major growth in their life.” From the very moment he came to Mumbai only with Rs. 500 and a family to take care of, he realized things won’t go forward without taking risks. If he hadn’t taken the chance and gone through with the idea of starting his own company, Reliance would not be what it is today!
4. Bet on the people around you
The people you have in your team are there because you want them to be a part of your business.They are working with you because they believe in your leadership skills. Dhirubhai realised early on in life that he had to give the people on his team a reason to believe in him and in the company. The philosophy of “arm around the shoulder type leader” was made popular by him and with time, this has become a widely popular form of leadership. Furthermore, not only did he believe in his employees, he also made sure his employees had safety nets in place for them when things went wrong. Every great leader reaches greatness because of the amount of trust they place in the people around them.
4. Do not worry about change
Every time Ambani saw things changing, he knew he would have to adapt with the times, otherwise things do not go the right way. If Ambani hadn’t realized the best way to make a difference in the communications world was by making incoming calls free, Reliance would have been on quite a different path. Embrace that things will evolve constantly and the only way you as a leader can grow, is by keeping with the times.