6 Powerful quotes by Kumar Mangalam Birla

Fire either burns in its entirety or purifies it entirely.

In his case, it did both in parts. It seared in him an urge to excel in all fields that he touched upon. It also purified his intent and defined a path that his enterprise would take. In times to come, it would make him and all his entities renowned in their respective fields.

Kumar Mangalam Birla, fourth-generation scion of the illustrious Birla family of India became the Chairman of the Aditya Birla Group at the young age of 28 when tragedy befell upon him. His father, and one of India’s finest industrialist and social entrepreneur, Aditya Vikram Birla fell to cancer.

For Kumar, life till then was a cruise given that he was born into one of India’s most known and admired of business families which had roots that stretched all the way back to India’s independence. His great-grandfather and India’s industrial doyen Shri Ghanshyam Das Birla was close to the likes of the Mahatma and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

Shri Ghanshyam Das Birla was also close to Kumar in his younger days. In his own words he says that he was lucky to have learnt the ropes of the trade at the hands of some of India’s most known and admired business-leaders which also included grandfather Basant Kumar Birla and his father Aditya Vikram Birla. Tough businessmen they certainly were, but equally significant were their humanitarian gestures towards everyone be it their employees or the public at large.

All of their influences and ideas the young Kumar Mangalam Birla imbibed in plenty and can be seen in the way he structured and led his business on the path of astounding growth. Their combined worth in the year 1995 when he entered the scene was in the region of USD 2 billion.

Today, with the addition of metals including aluminium and copper, cement, textiles (pulp, fibre, yarn, fabric and branded apparel), carbon black, insulators, natural resources, solar power, agribusiness, telecom, financial services, retail and trading, their net-worth is in the region of an astounding USD 45 billion. That apart, in the span of a quarter-of-a-century, the Aditya Birla Group has acquired over 40 renowned entities worldwide- a record of sorts for any Indian conglomerate!

All this has given Kumar Mangalam Birla, a CA by qualification with an MBA from the London Business School, a deep and thorough understanding of what it takes to make businesses effective, efficient and very customer centric. These have also resulted in a series of well-meaning quotes by Kumar that everyone from businessmen to newbies could use in their daily lives to enlighten and motivate.

Leadership is hard to define and good leadership even harder. But if you can get people to follow you to the ends of the earth, you are a great leader.

When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response.

As a leader, I am tough on myself and I raise the standard for everybody; however, I am very caring because I want people to excel at what they are doing so that they can aspire to be me in the future.

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