Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella
Satya Nadella recently gave his first interview as chief executive of Microsoft. He has been an employee of Microsoft for 22 years and has an extensive technical background. As a leader in Microsoft’s cloud computing efforts, his role held key importance because of the dynamic and growing nature of cloud-based computing and remote-service based data centers. Nadella has also provided technical oversight for Bing and was in charge of the engineering for the company's advertising, including supporting systems and MSN. His graduate education includes master’s degrees in computer science and business administration.
He described an important leadership lesson he experienced as a child. While on his school’s cricket team, he was bowling (akin to baseball pitching). In order to improve the team’s playing ability, his captain took over the bowling position, upping the team’s performance. As a good captain, he realized how this would impact Nadella’s self-confidence. After attaining a breakthrough for the team, he reinstated Nadella to his former position.
Many cricket successes followed. And Nadella learned an important lesson: When you’re a leader, you need to know when to intervene and when to stand aside. Building team confidence is critical to success.
Nadella’s focus is on maximizing team effectiveness. In evaluating a team collectively, the following questions are key: “Are we able to authentically communicate, and are we able to build on each person’s capabilities to the benefit of our organization?”
The ever-changing dynamics of harnessing the intellectual capital of 130,000 people while continuing to innovate makes today’s organizational structure at Microsoft irrelevant. Going forward, cycle times and response times need to be more concentrated. High tech business is tough because nothing is a success until it’s a hit, and even in a $70 billion business, where a $1 million project may appear of little concern, it may actually turn out to be the single most important project that the company’s working on. While most people have a strong sense of organizational ownership, they must also embrace an innovation agenda.
Nadella objects to those who come in from the outside demanding that rigid ways of working be followed. He said the question should be, “How do you take all of that valuable experience and apply it to the current context and raise standards?”
Longevity in a business such as Microsoft relies on reinventing yourself or even inventing the future. Civilizations and companies rise and fall, says Nadella. His goal is for Microsoft to be a 100-year-old company where people find deep meaning at work.
These are only some of the views of Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella. They are extremely perceptive and inspirational. Do such attitudes about leadership, management, employment goals and future outlook apply to your company or organization?
Surveys and polls may provide the information to answer these kinds of questions. Perhaps it makes sense to follow the business direction provided by the CEO of one of America’s most forward-thinking technology companies.