6 Game-Changing Pieces of CEO Advice From Satya Nadella

By James Mills, Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International

Satya Nadella is the CEO of Microsoft and has the responsibility of leading an organisation currently employing 114,000 people and generating more than $85 billion in revenue. So what is it we can learn about life and business from someone needing to perform at the top of their game?

He was interviewed by Bloomberg Businessweek and through the interview offered 6 powerful pieces of advice that apply to anyone serious about making the progress they want in life...

1. Early Success Can Be Dangerous 

"Somebody said to me a long time ago that the worst thing that can happen to anybody growing up is early success, because after that you really don’t understand what it takes to actually drive and strive and persist."

2. Have An Open Attitude  

"I need to be able to walk out of here this evening and say, “Where was I too closed-minded, or where did I not show the right kind of attitude of growth in my own mind?” If I can get it right, then we’re well on our way to having the culture we aspire to."

3. Change Is Hard, But Critical For Survival  

"All change is just hard. I mean, forget the company, just let’s individualise it. If somebody says, “Hey, today you’re going to have to change,” it’s the last thing anybody wants. It’s the most uncomfortable thing.

But we also all recognise that if we don’t, then the fundamental human quality of being able to adapt is not going to be exercised. If companies don’t change, they’re not going to be around."

4. Time Is Incredibly Valuable   

"The most valuable thing we have is our time. And I felt that one of the things that we should make sure we do for ourselves is to give people a sense for how are they spending their time so that they can then be more in control.

The thing that I most love to see is the amount of time I spend with people outside Microsoft vs. inside. The other thing that I love looking at is how much time am I spending in meetings vs. what I would call focused time. You absolutely need to be in meetings, because, after all, you don’t do a CEO’s job by locking yourself in your room. But at the same time, there’s got to be a right balance."

5. Maintain Balance Between The Short and Long-Term   

"The worst advice I would say is from people who have said, “OK, be either very long-term or be very short-term.” And it just never is like that.

Long-term orientation can be an amazing virtue when you know you’re on the right track, when you are in fact able to validate your hypothesis, when you are in fact making progress. But it can be terrible if you’re not able to quote-unquote 'break from the past', learn from your mistakes."

6. Have An Inspiring Vision

"In fact, my goal at Microsoft would be to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more."

The Crucial Importance of Learning & Growing 

What runs through all of Satya Nadella's advice is how imperative it is for us to constantly work on ourselves in order to be the best we can be. What he shares could equally be applied regardless of whether we are parents, business owners, students or regular career professionals. It is based on sound principles that apply across every area of our lives. If you've appreciated these words of wisdom, you may well appreciate his 4 powerful lessons on getting that promotion.

Click here for the full interview by Bloomberg Businessweek.


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