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Why Satya Nadella is rapidly becoming the poster boy for the CEO community

You may or may not be aware that Microsoft have recently undergone a wholesale business transformation programme. According to statistics Microsoft employs 124,000 people across over 120 countries. For a company of this scale to embark on wholesale change is mind-blowing really, and they didn’t just change one part of the business – they have transformed from the core engineering strategy all the way up to their partner sales function. So they are revolutionising their products, they are dramatically changing the way in which they bring these products to market and they are transforming attitudes and operations internally and externally across the business. As far as I’m aware these changes came into play around Q3 2017 – and are planned to be fully in place by end of Q1 2018 (and they’re on track).

2017 was one of Microsoft’s most successful years in terms of growth in recent times and their share price was at an all-time high. So, some in the market are questioning why, when the business is realising its best profits would you chose to upset the apple cart and fundamentally change how the business operates? Well, Satya’s response was simple, this is absolutely the right time to transform, if for one minute we are complacent then that’s when we lose competitive advantage.

It is no secret that there is a big boys battle going on between Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Samsung and IBM. They are squaring up on many fronts from hardware to cloud to Ai. And so you could say, well let’s keep my business focussed on staying ahead in terms of sales and innovation. Or you could be bold and fearless to make positive changes which enable sustained and accelerated growth.

The truth is, there is a huge team and a lot of dollars which go into why Satya is becoming the CEO of the decade but what he does so well is not just create a belief within his employees but he has opened the business up to its clients and partners. Everyone is aligned and that’s why under his leadership their share value has jumped by $250 billion in three and a half years.

In Satya’s words when talking about great leadership…
“It’s our ability to work together that makes our dreams believable and, ultimately, achievable. Taken together, these concepts embody the growth in culture I set out to inculcate at Microsoft. I talked about these ideas every chance I got, but the last thing I wanted was for employees to think of culture as “Satya’s thing.” I wanted them to see it as their thing. The key to the culture change was individual empowerment. We sometimes underestimate what we each can do to make things happen, and overestimate what others need to do for us. I became irritated once during an employee Q&A when someone asked me, “Why can’t I print a document from my mobile phone?” I politely told him, “Make it happen. You have full authority.”

We can all make things happen, we just need the knowledge, persistence and courage. In a banking industry where we are flooded with challenges we need to keep looking forward.

 

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