One of the stories I strongly believe in is that if you are in a race car and your brakes fail, the best option is to open the throttle and get ahead of everybody else and turn to the bank. We, at HCL, pressed the accelerator, seeing the downturn as an opportunity and grew 30 per cent in the last quarter.
In any industry, the core is made of employees; the fabric of trust between the employees and the management is what makes good companies great. The first time we figured out there was going to be a recession, I hit the road and met all our employees—100 per cent of them.
We launched a programme with 10,000 employees on cost-cutting measures we could undertake. We retained trust and built on it. Because if you demonstrated your commitment of fair behaviour and employeecentricity at a time when people did not expect you to, I think you will have a competitive advantage in the years ahead.
Think about it: Do you remember what the analyst said four quarters ago or what the media said eight quarters ago? Sure, you are judged on what you deliver quarter after quarter. But for you to deliver consistently quarter on quarter and annual on annual, you have to think long term. Our stock might have outperformed others, but that is incidental, not because we focussed on it. It is because for the last five years we focussed on what we felt is good for the business. And we continue doing that.
On my internal blog, something like "Long live application development, but it is dead, that is what this downturn has taught us" will be hotly debated. The more honestly you open up, the more passion you create. What that does is that it creates what I call "transformers" who want to take charge and change things.
— Vineet Nayar, 47, CEO, HCL Technologies
As told to Kushan Mitra