What did Satya do to energise Microsoft?

(Reading time 4 mins. Analyse using B4B Wheel to map Microsoft and Satya’s strategy)

Our industry does not respect tradition — it only respects innovation. This is a critical time for the industry and for Microsoft. Make no mistake, we are headed for greater places — as technology evolves and we evolve with and ahead of it. Our job is to ensure that Microsoft thrives in a mobile and cloud-first world.

This paragraph was somewhere in the middle of the first letter Satya Nadella wrote to Microsoft’s employees once he took over as CEO on 4th Feb 2014.

Steve Ballmer exited Microsoft in Aug 2013. Satya Nadella stepped in as the CEO around Feb 2014.

What has changed since then?

One word. Culture.

The approach. A shift from ego-centric 800 pound gorilla like approach to a clear thinking yoda like inclusive leadership.

A shift from ‘I am right, you are wrong‘ mindset to ‘let’s discuss and evolve together‘ progressive thinking.

In two years, Satya has led a cultural revolution at Microsoft that has brought a lot more compassion, a lot more energy around the way people feel and think about things.

Microsoft ‘power center‘ approach where every product group ruled the roost and thought in silos has truly given way to ‘One Microsoft‘ group think that has a unified mission.

To understand this even better, let’s compare and contrast Ballmer and Satya’s approach using Agility Nexus B4B Wheel.

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B4B rejects Alpha Male style leadership

(Reading time 3 minutes. B4B needs a ‘eco-system’ leader than an ‘ego-centered Alpha Male leader type)

How many times you have been to a meeting headed by a leader portraying Alpha male leadership style?

Hardheaded, task-oriented and extremely opinionated. They are known to get very upset when things do not go their way, and living up to their excessively high standards can feel like a mission impossible. They are prone to outbursts when things don’t go their way.

Bold, aggressive, decisive, critical, one track, domineering and loud. They inject fear all around. They suck energy out of the space.”

The corporate ladders, of both big and small companies, are strewn with such characters aplenty. These folks have managed to play the game well for the past four decades. In fact, they have played it so well that they have risen to the top.

Shocking but true.

The reason it has worked so well until now is that the corporates have been ‘ego-systems‘ so far. Hierarchical, typical ladder, where the alphas gather their pack and rule the territory. Organisations were territorial and boundaries were well defined.

Not anymore. As we step into the social era, ego-systems are being quickly replaced by eco-systems. Connections matter more than strategy in a silo.

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Are you a B2B or B4B company?

(5 minutes. Lengthy and hard hitting with examples.)

Couple of weeks ago, my article on Business FOR Business (B4B) resonated well with many of you. Don’t know why but at some level, deep inside, we seem to agree with the larger principle that businesses should exist for other businesses to succeed.

 

Not just for our shareholders, employees and partners who just continue to extract value from the market. This is so industrial era thinking.

 

Well, if we agree on this premise, then we should have some kind of assessment or validation that allows us to evaluate our business in its current state. Thought that it will be a good exercise to come up with a set of questions that allows us to do the same. A litmus test.

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B2B is dead. B4B is born.

(Reading time 4 minutes. Lengthy but intriguing)

Isn’t this a bold idea?

 

What’s in a title? Maybe everything.

 

Something that is very personal and possibly deep. A worldview that can shift our thinking and inspires us to do few things totally different.

 

Nah. How can that be? How is it possible?

 

How can you change a word, a preposition, ‘to‘ and replace it with ‘for‘ and call it a game changer?

 

We have seen it all. Haven’t we all been in business far too long to be moved by play of words. A small change from ‘To’ to ‘For’ means nothing.

 

Well, I don’t think so. I will tell you why in a moment.

 

Here is the bold idea again: ‘B2B is dead. B4B is born‘.

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10 Benefits of an economic slowdown

As you step into this Monday morning, I am sure that you don’t have to hear more bad news. Slowdown, layoffs, structural job losses, hiring freeze, change and more change coming our way.

 

I’m no Yoda but I can connect with the facts of brutal reality that is playing out there. I know people are suffering, and I hate that.

 

However, I also believe that every cloud has a silver lining. Seeing life that way is  just part of my being. So thought I should flex the appreciator muscle and see the slow down in a different light.

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