Monday, April 21, 2014

Dhirubhaism - A.G. Krishnamurthy

A.G. Krishnamurthy was the CMD of Mudra Communications, one of the fine gifts Dhirubhai Ambani gave to India's advertising world. Mudra set the tone with its professional approach and a constant striving to get to the next level, something we are not used to in many things Indian. AGK is an author of two other books but this one came my way thanks to Shikha and I am glad she thought it worthy of my reading. Much of what I am trying to get across in my leadership sessions are covered here and I feel better for that.

Th book has 15 traits that Dhirubhai exemplified through his actions which made him what he was as AGK saw it. The 15 'isms' are as follows. I also loved the way AGK summed up his experiences and have quoted him in the review.

1) Roll up your sleeves and help. You and your team share the same DNA
AGK says that 'when things went wrong, he was our best ally.'
'..he trusted the capabilities of his core team implicitly'.
'..his first instinct is to always join his men in putting out the fire rather than crucifying them for it..'
'It was his faith in us that gave us the strength and inspired ordinary men to achieve extraordinary feats.'

Wonderful trait. One who wants to get the job done, not merely to prove he is right.

2) Be a safety net for your team an they will perform wonders
'when you are confident that there is someone out there to break your fall there is no limit to how high you will fly.'

It could not be truer. I experienced the same feeling when  met a few spiritual gurus. All they did was this - be the safety net for millions. Tell people you love that you are there for them and see how they respond.

3) Be a silent benefactor
The story of how Dhirubhai doubled the loan for a friend who defaulted due to a drinking habit, and got him back on track with that gesture is brilliant. Easy to lose faith there. Also his acts were not limited to money - a kind word, a pat, a letter it all helped.

4) Dream big but with your eyes wide open
'He never let present norms govern his vision, yet he worked night and day familiarising himself with every little nitty gritty  that constituted his dreams, constantly sifting the wheat from the chaff,. He was the hardest worker I've ever met.'

I liked the bit about the hardest worker.

'Even though he ventured into areas he had no prior experience in, he was confident of his ability to learn.'

5) The arm around the shoulder leader
This is something one must instantly practice. Arm around the shoulder. I loved his greeting - Kya dost. Brilliant stuff.

'Dhirubhai had mastered the art of communication.'
'When you put your arm around someone, communication becomes effortless.'
'He went out of his way to get people to open up.'

Nicely said AGK.

6) Supply creates demand
Dhirubhai was always known for his take on supply creating demand rather than assess demand and create supply. It only shows that the consumer cannot be trusted to estimate demand and rather new ways can be found to fulfil new needs. So he created capacity for 10000 tonnes of PFY when the estimated demand was 6000 tons. Dhirubhai's lack of education was compensated by his capacity to learn, common sense, sharp intuition, guts and belief in his homework. He also reacted fast - speed and efficiency were his hallmarks.
when supply creates demand, prices come down.

7) Money is not a product, its a by-product
The instruction to AGK was to produce the best textile advertising in the country. Good work is bound to bring in recognition. Process was important, result would follow.

8) Leave the professional alone
AGK talks of the naming of Mudra where Dhirubhai trusted his choice when all ad agencies had anglicised names.

'Dhirubhai believed in professionals. He trusted that I would do the right thing.'

9) Change your orbit constantly
It is all about growth and more growth. Bigness - buys better. You can invest better. Innovate and expand says AGK.

9) Optimism
'Hope is your most powerful weapon.' - Dhirubhai

'His life was proof that lineage and a privileged background was not mandatory.'

10) You can find a friend in every human being
AGK says Dhirubhai was genuinely interested in people. He listened to them.

11) Think big
This is probably the biggest. If he had one thing in ample supply it was courage. Starting 101 retail outlets at one go, hosting the Reliance Cup and bringing cricket in a big way to India, Dhirubhai proved that is pays to be big and spectacular

13) Hold on to your dreams
His lack of education, finance, safety nets did not deter him, He found a way around each time. He focused on his strengths, his willingness to learn, his quickness with market information, ability to respond with speed

AGK says - 'hold on fast to your dream, know your strength and you can make the most impossible dream come true'.

14) Bet on your people
AGK believes that Dhirubhai's philosophy on betting on his people lay the foundation for the gigantic empire that reliance is today. He had the ability to hand over complete charge to people he picked for the job.

AGK says - 'when someone places their entire trust in your to handle a job, you will try everything in your power and beyond to assure him that he made the right decision by putting you in charge.'
'He saw skills in us we never knew we had.'
'He had the courage to bet on his people.'

15) Be positive
Dhirubhai never complained. He saw himself as the pathfinder.

It is a fine book and AGK must be complimented on capturing such wisdom so succinctly. I found all the 15 isms wonderful lessons to instantly adopt and carry to life. We can all find some degree of success certainly if we adopt them. This is a book that can be used in colleges and universities and discussed. This is a book that can create the leaders we want to see in the future. Somebody please go ahead and do it. AGK himself perhaps can begin the Dhrubhai Institute of Leadership where the only course needs to be these 15 isms.

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