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This blog was posted in my LinkedIn profile on Dec 20th, 2017.

Having lived in Microsoft’s hometown of Redmond, WA, for the last 30 years, I have often felt the company’s energy throughout my community. In the last several years especially, there has been consensus among employees and contractors that Microsoft was not a desirable workplace. Particularly, Microsoft’s performance review process was often cited as the main culprit preventing a more positive and collaborative work environment. However more recently beginning this year, I began observing a shift for the better in this trend. As an executive coach, I became very curious about that change and wanted to learn what had happened.

After reading the book Hit Refresh by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, everything became clear.

In 2014, Satya, a 22-year company veteran, became the CEO of Microsoft. He put the company’s culture at the top of his agenda – “to rediscover the soul of Microsoft, its reason for being”.

Satya writes “In the face of global economic and technological uncertainty, we reset our mission, reprioritized our culture, and built or rebuilt strategic partnerships in order to solidify the foundation of our business.”

His actions have been based on the following 3C: Do we have an exciting concept? Do we have the capabilities necessary to succeed? Do we have a culture that welcome these new ideas and approaches?

Other than generating the best returns to shareholders, Satya also shared his thought on a world view on restoring economic growth for everyone. He writes “the bigger a company is, the more responsibility its leader has to think about the world, its citizens, and their long-term opportunities”. He has an equation to describe his perspective – ∑ ( Education + Innovation) x Intensity of Tech Use = Economic Growth.

It’s inspiring to learn that one leader can transform the culture of a big corporation in such a short period of time. Obviously, Satya’s life experience has shaped the leader who he is; a young child who lost a sibling, moved many times, influenced by his father’s enthusiasm for intellectual engagement and mother’s encouragement of a balanced life, an immigrant, a father of a disable kid, and a husband with a growth mind wife.

I appreciated how Satya shared his background, vision, perspectives, and actions in this book. It answered many of my questions and encouraged me to continue my journey on developing leaders. I would highly recommend this book to leaders and executive coaches.

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