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Encouraging teamwork is key

Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella said encouraging teamwork and communication would be key to leading Microsoft and its new restructuring plan.
 
Nadella recently gave The New York Times his first interview as CEO, where he discussed the influence both Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer have had on him over the years, and said that the goal is to make Microsoft one of the few 100-year-old+ companies.
 
Ballmer was known as an energetic and passionate figure at Microsoft, but Nadella said that he learned the importance of staying grounded from Ballmer.
 
"I went on to ask him, 'How do I compare to the people who had my role before me?' And Steve said: 'Who cares? The context is so different. The only thing that matters to me is what you do with the cards you’ve been dealt now. I want you to stay focused on that, versus trying to do this comparative benchmark,'" said Nadella. "The lesson was that you have to stay grounded, and to be brutally honest with yourself on where you stand."
 
From Gates, who will be devoting more time to Microsoft to work closely with Nadella, the new CEO said he learned to stand his ground thanks to pressure testing from Gates. 
 
He’ll argue with you vigorously for a couple of minutes, and then he’ll be the first person to say, Oh, you’re right,'" said Nadella. "Both Bill and Steve share this. They pressure-test you. They test your conviction."
 
While part of the big news of Nadella's new CEO position was that Gates was going to spend more time at the company, Nadella said the two of them working together is nothing new. He added that Gates would be spending more time on campus and helping to get the team motivated to create new and exciting products. 


While Gates and Ballmer will continue to be big names in Microsoft history, Nadella is looking to create a name for himself with his own leadership techniques. After sharing that participating in a cricket team as a youngster has helped shape his ideas of leadership today, Nadella said that pumping up his team and encouraging individuals to effectively communicate ideas will be his main priority. 
 
"The thing I’m most focused on today is, how am I maximizing the effectiveness of the leadership team, and what am I doing to nurture it?" said Nadella. "A lot of people on the team were my peers, and I worked for some of them in the past. The framing for me is all about getting people to commit and engage in an authentic way, and for us to feel that energy as a team.
 
"I’m not evaluating them on what they say individually. None of them would be on this team if they didn’t have some fantastic attributes. I’m only evaluating us collectively as a team. Are we able to authentically communicate, and are we able to build on each person’s capabilities to the benefit of our organization?"
 
Nadella added that the restructuring process and unification of Xbox, PC and Windows Phone would heavily depend on the effectiveness of the team, and the ability to identify a successful product from a dud. 
 
"One of the things that I’m fascinated about generally is the rise and fall of everything, from civilizations to families to companies," said Nadella. "We all know the mortality of companies is less than human beings. There are very few examples of even 100-year old companies. For us to be a 100-year old company where people find deep meaning at work, that’s the quest."
 
Nadella, who was born in 1967 in India, studied Electrical Engineering at the Mangalore University before moving to the U.S. to study computer science at the University of Wisconsin. From there he worked at Sun Microsystems before finally making his way to Microsoft to work on research for the company's online services division. He's been with Microsoft for over 20 years now and has held several roles, such as the business division on Office, helping to build the Bing search engine, leading the Server and Tools business, and transforming Microsoft’s cloud business.
 
He was named Microsoft CEO earlier this month after Ballmer announced his retirement in August 2013. 

Source: The New York Times





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