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Empathy- My Success Secret - Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO

Satya Nadella- …. A personality, that has no need of any introduction. He is not only a CEO to a giant software company but he has a good taste in literature which made him to pen “Hit Refresh” with his ideas, experiences and a lot more that touched his life. … Why, there is transformation in individuals, groups, society? Why should we change accordingly?.. Satya answers these questions in his “Hit Refresh.” Here is his saga which inspires youth a lot.
Three important things
  1. He penned everything about his journey from being born in Hyderabad to taking charge of CEO of Microsoft, in this book. He explained about his interest in sports, his admiration for Indian Cricketer Jayasimha, going to USA at the age of twenty… getting married to Anu, even rejecting green card to get married with Anu … changes in the field of software… etc.
  2. He explained how four decade back started Microsoft, brought changes in the modern generation.
  3. He discussed how Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Computing etc, are going to be a part of the society.

Cartoon that haunted
Wanted to be a part of an organization that can constantly changes the world is my wish from childhood. That’s why I joined in Microsoft in 1992. I am feeling proud to be a part of Microsoft that changed the world. For a long time, IBM and Microsoft were the only two companies that were producing computers. Work culture of Microsoft underwent changes accordingly. Bureaucracy replaced innovation. Administration destroyed creativity. Group politics started in team work which resulted in slowdown of development. In that time a cartoonist draw something satirically about group politics in Microsoft. He drew the cartoon with groups in the company aiming at one another with guns. That cartoon reflected the situation of our company. As a senior employee, that cartoon haunted me a lot. But I got hurt by the lighter attitude of the heads of the company towards the situation.

Introspection started…
What to do to change the situation? Having lots of working experience in different posts in the company made me to think that the situation can be renewed. Hence wrote a letter in 2014, to the staff, after taking charge as CEO. In that I explained the origin of the company, principles and the work culture. I told the staff clearly that my aim is to renew the situation. We have Senior Leadership Team (SLT) meeting every week in our company. I was also a member in SLT. We review the opportunities, goals and problems in the meeting. Engineers, researchers, managers, marketing executives are the members in the team. All are of different backgrounds. But, everyone is interested in technology. That brought all of us together.

Noticed the problem:
I strongly believe that if we coordinate our skill and talent with intelligence, we can make wonders. Before I became CEO, my home team “Seattle Seahawks” won the football super bowl championship. That victory was just because of Psychologist Jairvesh. The techniques he used to boost the morale of players attracted many. I thought that our staff which works under pressurized situation also needs his techniques. We invited him for our meeting. In the meeting Jairversh asked us, “Anybody wants amazing personal experience”? All of us said, yes. He asked one of us to come forward. None of us did it. Every one of us was hesitated. Everybody is looking at the other to come forward. Then our CFO Ami Hood came forward. For him Jarivesh had given a task of counting English alphabet with numbers (A1, B2,C3…) after which all of us were relieved. Then Jairvesh asked us, “Why none of you came forward immediately after I asked for a task”? Aren’t you in the most talented group? Don’t you believe that you can make wonders”? We don’t have answers for his questions. This made me to come to know, where the problem is?

Reason for disability:
After being worked for 22 years in different posts, I was not interested for CEO post. I saw the whole CEO Selection Process without any interest. My concentration was on taking care of children at home and developing cloud computing at office. This is the reason for my disability. I was also called for interview. A member of that board even advised me that I should at least pretend that I am trying for the CEO post. I thought why he said like that. I shared my feeling with Steve Balmer (then CEO, Microsoft.). He just smiled and said, “it is too late to act differently”.

Want to share my experiences
Generally, leaders write books to share their experiences. But, they won’t write when they are busy in profession. After retirement only they start writing. But, contrast to that, the thought of sharing my experiences when I am at work made me to pen “Hit Refresh.”

My Success Secret
Empathy, learning from life’s experiences… are my success secrets. A question asked by a manager when i attended an interview for job in Microsoft, had a great impact on me.
(Q: when you see a child crying on the road, what will you do?)
Nadella: I will call 911.
Manager: Before calling 911, you must console the child. You should have concern for fellow-beings. )
The words of that manager totally changed my attitude towards life. My son Jain born with cerebral palsy also made me the need of empathy. I concentrate to listen to others with concern. I think that quality made me to raise to post of CEO of Microsoft.

In one word.. Empathy is my success secret.

Bill Gates wrote the foreword to “Hit Refresh” in which he said, he knew Nadella for the last 20 years and he praised that he had his impact on the company.

Nadella dedicated this book to two families who had influenced and nurtured him. Parents, wife and kids is one family.. the other family is Microsoft.
Published date : 11 Dec 2017 04:53PM

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