It has been almost three and a half years since Satya Nadella took the reins at Microsoft and during this period, a lot has changed both inside and outside Microsoft.
Under his leadership, Microsoft stopped trying to go head-to-head with Apple and Android devices. It narrowed down its focus on areas where it could shine, like cloud computing and artificial intelligence.
his recent talk with Bloomberg accompanied with the launch of his new business-book-slash-memoir, Hit Refresh, he recounts how, as a new CEO, he came to realize that the company’s recent stumbles weren’t due to failures of intellect, but of cultural cohesion.
In a recent blog post on LinkedIn, he emphasized on the power of empathy quoting, “I hope readers see the book’s main takeaway as the power of taking everyday action driven by empathy.”
to the Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, there are very beautiful lessons which could be learned from practicing empathy at your workplace and in your life as well.
As Nadella writes, “Hitting refresh is required for any person and organization looking to make a sustained impact over a long period of time.” He further added, “Ideas excite me. Empathy grounds and centers me”
1. Empathy improves teamwork.
When he became CEO in 2014 he saw, “Teamwork was being replaced by internal politics. We were falling behind, While I admired every member of our team, I felt that we needed to deepen our understanding of one another—to delve into what really makes each of us tick—and to connect our personal philosophies to our jobs.” He emphasized on knowing each other a little bit more, then only can empathy exist.
2. Empathy helps open your mind.
Nadella says empathy does far more than just motivating you to volunteer or donate, as it primarily opens your mind up to think more about other people’s perspectives.
In a recent Wall Street Journal interview he said, “The business we are in is to meet the unmet, unarticulated needs of customers, and there’s no way you’re going to do that well without having empathy and curiosity.” He also acknowledged that he didn’t realize just how important empathy was until his son was born with cerebral palsy. It was an experience that led him to better understand why being able to see things from somebody else’s perspective is so important.
3. Empathy helps you admit mistakes and move on.
If you remember he took over Microsoft right after it bought Nokia’s phone business for more than $7 billion. It was an investment plenty of tech analysts have argued was a bad idea. Under Nadella, Microsoft stopped repeating that mistake and shifted its focus in areas like cloud computing and AI.
That one of the perfect example of learning to admit your mistakes even after being counted as one of the leading tech giants. With the help of empathy, they carved their own new path to success.
Bill Gates says: Gates said, “It was no surprise to me that once Nadella became Microsoft’s CEO, he immediately put his mark on the company. As the title of this book implies, he didn’t completely break with the past when you hit refresh on your browser, some of what’s on the page stays the same.”
I will admit, I did not recognise the name Satya Nadella. I am far from an I.T expert!
I mean, I love my mobile phone….in fact I LOVE my mobile phone and I love the connection it gives me to people I care about and the world beyond my mind. But I did not recognise Satya Nadella’s name, as I do not follow Microsoft. But, this news story came up on my empathy news search, and I found his outlook, both resonated with me personally and professionally.
Working in the emotional aspect of healthcare and with my background of counselling, again, I could not be further from I.T. However I was interested on Satya’s take of empathy in business – a large business. I was not disappointed. Interested however to read that his interest in empathy developed when his son was born with Cerebral Palsy.
This is not a surprise for me as when something like that rocks your world, it makes you aware of the impact of how others treat you and indeed how they know and perceive you. Something I experienced ten fold after losing my child in hospital and recognising both the absence and presence of empathy, as I went through a brutal system to have her voice, and mine heard and the truth represented.
It’s exactly why I do what I do with my empathy training and my Journey Through Complaints Using Empathy, one of my training programmes. Working to help support staff to not only recognise the needs of others, but to understand themselves too and promote their own well-being in the process of promoting the well-being of others, is one of the most amazing jobs in the world.
I am going to write more about each of Satya’s 3 points on empathy this week and explore in a little more detail from the perspective of what I do. For now, his Hit Refresh book sounds like something to go on my reading list and will inspire me as I work on my own, long awaited book. Thank you Satya.
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