“I learnt early on in my life never to have regrets, to face the future whatever it was going to be, to make tough decisions by getting on and doing it.”
The Problem: The fear of fear itself
It was the summer of 2006, the really hot one. As a major merger loomed between the company that I was running at the time – Redbus – and Telecity, one of our fiercest competitors, I knew that core members of my staff were getting increasingly nervous about who amongst them might be at risk of losing their jobs.
There was history between the two companies. Since the late 1990s they had been sworn enemies, battling to dominate the nascent market for data centre capacity. At times the fighting had been nothing less than cut-throat.
However, I had a vision that if Redbus and Telecity could only be brought together as one entity, the new company that emerged would be able to reshape the industry, by pulling in the same direction rather than expending energy locked in a bloody battle. Competition between companies is healthy, but it can also be exhausting.
After two years trying to engineer the merger, and three or four failed attempts, I was finally at the point where, barring last-minute or unseen problems, the merger was on the verge of happening.
But my team was understandably worried. Each member knew that in most mergers there are going to be two people for each job and, out of necessity, one of those people will have to be let go. It was a time of tough decisions and there was ...