Over the past 5 years I’ve had several chance meetings with people from the Reliance Group (both Reliance Industries and Reliance/ADAG) and I can only laugh when these employees tell me how well connected they are to the Ambani’s. I call this the IKEA (I Know Every Ambani) Syndrome.
The latest episode was several months ago when someone contacted me and wanted to setup a meeting. He went on and on about his close proximity to Mukesh-bhai (MDA) and Anil-ji (ADA), almost as if he was the 3rd lost brother of the Ambani family. We started to talk details about how we could work together and then suddenly he developed a case of cold feet and said he needed to speak to his CEO. I have no issue with running a deal past a CEO but it seemed odd for this “well connected” individual…or he just wasn’t as connected as he said he was.
I think it’s admirable that many employees of the Reliance group feel a sense of family but it’s also very destructive. Throwing around names is one thing but getting business done is another. From the ones I have met they seem to have very similar traits – Middle aged and mid level managers. They use the Reliance platform to setup meetings not for the company but their “side business.” Unfortunately, most are too scared to let go of the Reliance name brand and instead throw around the Ambani name to make themselves feel special in an organization that probably has over 120,000 employees.
Now when someone from the Reliance group calls, I do my due diligence and go straight to LinkedIn to see where they stand in the organization. The IKEA Syndrome is not a deal killer as long as you are talking to the right people in the organization who are not affected by the syndrome.