Satya Nadella employed a ‘growth mindset’ to overhaul Microsoft’s cutthroat culture and turn it into a trillion-dollar company — here’s how he did it

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A cartoonist once drew an illustration depicting Microsoft’s organizational chart as warring factions. 

Take a look and you’ll see three separate gangs: one blue, one green, one yellow. The gangs are assembled in pyramid-shaped hierarchies, with one leader at the top, two or three deputies at the next level, and so on.

A hand sticks out from each pyramid, pointing a gun directly at one of the others. It’s clear. This is war.

And then Satya Nadella became CEO.

Nadella described the era of warring gangs in his 2017 memoir-manifesto, “Hit Refresh:” “Innovation was being replaced by bureaucracy. Teamwork was being replaced by internal politics. We were falling behind.”

That particular cartoon – drawn in 2011 by a Google employee named Manu Cornet, no less – made changing Microsoft’s culture Nadella’s No. 1 goal as CEO.

“As a 24-year veteran of Microsoft, a consummate insider, the caricature really bothered me. But what upset me more was that our own people just accepted it,” Nadella wrote. “When I was named Microsoft’s third CEO in February 2014, I told employees that renewing our company’s culture would be my highest priority.”

Since becoming CEO, Nadella has been credited with a grand reinvention of Microsoft, exemplified by its market value exceeding $1 trillion, one of just a handful in history to hit that mark. When Nadella first took over, its market value was around $300 billion.

One of the keys to this transformation is a psychological concept that’s become a mantra at Nadella’s Microsoft: growth mindset. The concept has helped Microsoft made the shift to remote work with aplomb, reaching a market cap of more than $1.6 trillion, showing that Nadella’s strategy has survived the pandemic intact.

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Microsoft has traded a fixed mindset for a growth mindset

Growth mindset describes the belief that skills are developed through hard work and that challenges are opportunities to learn. Fixed mindset, on the other hand, refers to the belief that talent is innate and that struggling is a sign of failure. Research on the difference between growth and fixed mindset — and how they predict success — was pioneered by Stanford’s Carol Dweck.

Early on in her career as a developmental psychologist, Dweck visited children at school and presented them with a series of increasingly difficult puzzles. Her goal was to better understand how people cope with failure. Some students, she found, weren’t fazed by it.

In her 2006 book, “Mindset,” she recalls one 10-year-old boy who “pulled up his chair, rubbed his hands together, smacked his lips, and cried out, ‘I love a challenge!'”

Dweck would spend the next five decades trying to figure out the difference between people who relish a good challenge and those who fear failure. Scores of studies published under her name suggest that people who see intelligence and abilities as learnable are more successful, personally and professionally, than people who think they’re static.

Recently, Dweck coauthored a study that drew a link between growth mindset and …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Tech


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