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Satya Nadella’s 11 Best Startup Lessons on Leadership From Complete Transformation of Microsoft — Pressfarm

When he was 24 years old, Microsoft poached him from Sun Microsystems. He has been described as calm and quiet but very decisive and extremely intentional. Satya Nadella was not an obvious pick for the CEO position at Microsoft after the end of Steve Ballmer’s era in 2013. A lot of tech media outlets were highlighting former Ford CEO, Allan Mullaly, as a possible hire for the position because Microsoft was doing terribly and needed a person with a different perspective, preferably an outsider, to bring the tech giant back to life.

How did Satya Nadella Reinvent Microsoft?

1. Cloud Computing

In every sense of the way, Satya Nadella’s “cloud first, mobile first” statement only worked to favor the most promising part of the business where Microsoft had gotten in early enough. Despite very aggressive competition from Apple’s OS X, Microsoft’s Windows still controls the desktop OS market share worldwide in both enterprise and personal computing. Microsoft has leveraged this 78% market share to make One Drive and Azure as popular as possible. As of today, Windows 10 has taken over the commercial devices market share at 52%, tipping the scales against Windows 7 at 36%. In each of that Windows 10 installation is a One Drive folder, automatically inbuilt in the software.

2. Microsoft Subscriptions

Since the company launched in 1975 under Bill Gates and the late Paul Allen, Microsoft’s revenues were one-time affairs from permanent licenses for Windows and later for Office. The licenses were quite pricey, but as the company didn’t have any worthy competitors it still dominated that market and the business model worked for decades.

3. Acquiring LinkedIn

It is true that Microsoft was not in any social network business for a long time. But the kind of financial reserves that the company has meant that it can buy off a lot of things if it really wants to. In 2016, Satya Nadella sanctioned a $26 Billion acquisition of the world’s biggest professional social network putting Microsoft firmly in the social media business.

4. Letting Go of Company’s Mistakes

Recognizing that Microsoft had made some mistakes in strategy, as well as acquisitions, was important for Satya Nadella’s progress. Bing had failed to surmount Google in the search engine wars, so Satya reduced the focus on Bing. He sanctioned the sale of Bing’s mapping data assets to Uber.

5. Internal Action

Taking over a mammoth of a company with thousands of employees, of course, comes with taking over all the behavioral mess, organizational structures, infighting, and unhealthy competition between employees.

6. Reimagining and Reshaping

There is a major shift in what the digital revolution is looking like around the world. Satya Nadella knew this too well. Microsoft could no longer rely on income from desktop software and permanent licenses. That mindset needed to go because the world is moving from desktop to mobile and from expensive permanent licenses to more affordable subscriptions.

7. Sense of purpose

Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg is a huge believer in a company having a sense of purpose. It seems that Satya Nadella has that belief too as a core guide of leading Microsoft. He has united the company’s employees behind one sense of purpose; to ensure that the company’s platforms and tools help drive small business productivity, large business competitiveness, and public sector efficiency.

8. Reiterating the company’s mission

Microsoft’s mission according to Satya is to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. What a simple mission statement!

9. Growth Mindset

The Microsoft CEO is a huge proponent of the growth mindset. He advises against taking things for granted. In his world, every assumption needs to be checked against new or old data; and new data needs to inform new decisions.

10. Find the rose petals in a pile of shit

One time after he took over, a senior executive went to complain about a lot of other senior executives to Satya. After listening to his rants, Satya called a meeting of all senior executives and managers. He explained to them that they were not being paid to complain about how bad things are at the company, or about their colleagues. That they were being paid to “find rose petals in that pile of shit.”

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11. Culture change

All of these transformation points just point to one major shift in the company; change of culture. Satya changed the teams from complaining and negative aggressiveness to working as an actual team. He transformed how people thought about their purpose at work by making them believe that they were doing something that will help mankind from a very noble perspective. He showed them the new focus, cloud computing, and AI, and the team set the eyes on the prize.

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