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Dhirubhai Ambani's words of wisdom

Last updated on: June 3, 2010 18:33 IST

Image: Dhirubhai Ambani.
Photographs: Savita Kirloskar/Reuters Rediff Business Desk

Dhirubhai Ambani. Arguably, India's most enterprising entrepreneur.

His was the ideal rags-to-riches story. He rose from humble beginnings to found India's largest industrial empire, and, in the process, became one of the world's richest men. He rewrote India's corporate history.

Dhirubhai was praised for his key role in shaping India's stock market culture by attracting hordes of retail investors to a market dominated by state-run financial institutions.

He was not a conformist and was often criticised for his style of doing business. For, the 'Dhirubhai school of management' firmly believed that the only thing which mattered at the end were results and the benefits which accrued directly to the shareholders.

He passed away on July 6, 2002, in Mumbai.

In the next few slides are Dhirubhai's famous quotes culled from interviews with various publications and from public speeches.

. . .:

'Secret of my success was to have ambition and know minds of men'

Image: Dhirubhai Ambani with his grandson.
Photographs: library
  • True entrepreneurship comes only from risk-taking.

  • Pursue your goal, even in the face of difficulties. Convert difficulties into opportunities. Keep your morale high, in spite of setbacks. At the end you are bound to succeed.

  • My advice to young entrepreneurs is not to accept defeat in the face of odds. Challenge negative forces with hope, self-confidence and conviction. I believe that ambition and initiative will ultimately triumph. The success of the young entrepreneur will be the key to India's transformation in the new millennium.

  • Dhirubhai will go one day. But Reliance's employees and shareholders will keep it afloat. Reliance is now a concept in which the Ambanis have become irrelevant.

  • I have trusted people and they have put their trust in me. I have encouraged youth, and they have never let me down. I have asked my people to take initiative and to take risks. It has paid me rich dividends. I insist on excellence. This helps us to be leaders. Reliance is built on some of these principles.

  • The secret of Reliance's success was to have ambition and to know the minds of men.

  • Growth has no limit at Reliance. I keep revising my vision. Only when you dream it you can do it.

'We have lost the habit of thinking big'

Image: Dhirubhai Ambani.
Photographs: library
  • The problem with Indians is that we have lost the habit of thinking big!

  • We can prove to the world that India can do it. That Indians are not afraid of competition. That India is a nation of achievers.

  • I dream India of becoming a great economic superpower.

  • We must forge a new partnership for a great India. A strong and constructive partnership between industry, government and society.

  • We must always go for the best. Do not compromise on quality. Reject if it is not the best -- not only the best in India, but globally.

  • If India wants to be a great nation, we must have courage to trust. This is my sincere belief.

  • All we have to do is to break the shackles that chain the energies of our people, and India's economy will record a quantum leap and move into a new, higher orbit of growth, competitiveness and productivity.

  • I can never fully repay the debt I owe to Mumbai. To all of you. My past was shaped in Mumbai.

  • For those who dare to dream, there is a whole world to win!

  • I am deaf to the word 'no.'

'Ideas are no one's monopoly'

Image: Dhirubhai Ambani along with then US President Bill CLinton. Dhirubhai is flanked by his sons.
Photographs: library
  • I am 100 per cent pro-liberalisation. I do not think any industrialist is against it. But we should protect our industries, from unfair competition.

  • There is no question about that (retirement). Business is my hobby. It is not a burden to me. In any case Reliance now can run without me.

  • I give least importance to being Number one. I consider myself to be fortunate in this position and would like to contribute to nation building in some way.

  • Does making money excite me? No, but I have to make money for my shareholders. What excites me is achievement, doing something difficult. In this room extraordinary things must happen.

  • Think big, think fast, think ahead. Ideas are no one's monopoly.

  • Our dreams have to be bigger. Our ambitions higher. Our commitment deeper. And our efforts greater. This is my dream for Reliance and for India.

  • First and foremost, I owe my success and achievements to the affection, friendship and trust of millions of employees, customers, shareholders, and business associates, who have stood by me and been a major source of my strength all along.

  • I believe that the success of Reliance cannot be attributed to the qualities and achievements of one individual, or even a group of individuals, but has to be viewed as a triumph of a process, and a spirit that binds the entire Reliance family together.

  • I consider myself a pathfinder. I have been excavating the jungle and making the road for others to walk. I like to be the first in everything I do.

  •  I, as school kid, was a member of the Civil Guard, something like today's NCC. We had to salute our officers who went round in jeeps. So I thought one day I will also ride in a jeep and somebody else will salute me.

  • My fulfillment lies in the satisfaction of every member of the Reliance family, comprising thousands of workers, managers, business associates and over five million shareholders. Being instrumental in creating wealth for over 5 million India families, and bringing prosperity and well being to their life is the best source of satisfaction and joy for me.

'You do not require an invitation to make profits'

Image: Dhirubhai Ambani.
  • Give the youth a proper environment. Motivate them. Extend them the support they need. Each one of them has infinite source of energy. They will deliver.

  • You do not require an invitation to make profits.

  • If you work with determination and with perfection, success will follow.

  • Between my past, the present and the future, there is one common factor: Relationship and Trust. This is the foundation of our growth.

  • We bet on people.

  • Meeting the deadlines is not good enough, beating the deadlines is my expectation.

  • Don't give up, courage is my conviction.

  • We cannot change our rulers, but we can change the way they rule us.

As A G Krishnamurthy, founder of Mudra Communications, writes in his book, Dhirubhaism, about some of the Reliance founder's doctrines:

  • Roll up your sleeves and help. You and your team share the same DNA.

  • Be a safety net for your team.

  • Always be the silent benefactor. Don't tom-tom about how you helped someone.

  • Dream big, but dream with your eyes open.

  • Leave the professional alone!

  • Change your orbit, constantly!

  • Money is not a product by itself, it is a by-product, so don't chase it.