Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational company with a market share value of $700 billion. Bill Gates and Paul Allen found the company in 1975. It deals with the manufacture, licensing, and sale of software including the popular Microsoft Office, Windows operating systems, and Internet Explorer.
Steve Ballmer replaced Bill Gates in 2000 as the new CEO, and utilized devices and service strategy. He pioneered the formation of Microsoft Mobile that acquired the Finnish tech-giant Nokia. Under the tenure of Mr. Ballmer, the company was slow to integrate new technology, and this made it hard for them to compete with companies such as Google and Apple. The sluggish performance made people perceive him as a short-sighted leader. Under his leadership, the company lost its culture of innovation, thereby prompting his replacement with Satya Nadella to steer the company in the right direction. According to Nadella, the main problems facing the Microsoft Corporation was the failure to embrace cloud computing. The corporation at this time concentrated its services on the Windows operating system and this was the main reason for its poor performance. Mr. Nadella saw Cloud Computing and Artificial Intelligence as the critical areas that will determine the future of the firm. He was the former executive vice president of the company’s division of Cloud and Enterprise group. He believes that this is an era of cloud solutions as supported by industrial trends. Therefore, he considered this a key area for growth. Mr. Nadella focused on cloud computing, and under his leadership, the share price of the corporation soared.
The new CEO having been part of the company for 22 years noted that the company culture had deteriorated. He resolved to change the performance system of stack ranking, which was unpopular and made employees compete against each other. This involved the ranking of employees as good, average, below average, and poor. The implication of this is that in a group of 10 employees, one employee received poor rating regardless of his/her contribution. He replaced this system with a continual and feedback system that encouraged innovation and boosted the relationships between employees. Mr. Nadella resorted to transforming the company’s management by introducing a Senior Leadership Team (SLT). This team had the responsibility of promoting dialogue for effective functioning of the organization. He selected Jill Tracie Nichols who had served under Ballmer as his Chief of Staff to change the culture from the pursuit of power. He also appointed Kathleen Hogan as the Chief People Officer to be at the forefront of changing the company’s culture. The company was inclined to a more window-centric approach before the appointment of Nadella. He states that the tech-industry does not respect tradition but innovation. This has made him embrace the open-source Linux System that his predecessor had avoided. He has also been able to boost the Artificial Intelligence population data from that of Office to 365 85 million users by purchasing LinkedIn which has approximately 500 million users. The CEO realizes that innovation is necessary even if it means moving away from its windows system.
The employee’s culture in the past used to be toxic, and this created an environment where you had to play politics to rise, which led to fights and divisions. For him to realize change he had to change the mindset of the employees. He achieved it by encouraging lifelong learning and hackathons that will have an impact on millions. It is evident that the fixed mindset contributed to stagnation. The CEO believes that everyone can grow and develop; when an organization nurtures their potential, to change their mindset. He further sets the tone with the constant repetition of the importance of the growth of mindset to the company. In most companies, the senior officials often pass the blame to the lower level employees. It is rather difficult for there to be any accountability. Under his leadership, employees were impressed because unlike the others, he owned up to his mistake. In another incident where their AI-based chat bot failed and sent 96000 racial and sexist slanders, the CEO encouraged the AI creators to continue pushing and know that they were together in the journey. He acknowledged that he is part of the team. Under the leadership of Mr. Nadella, Microsoft has been able to transform its workforce and has been able to change its conservative nature. This has seen concentrate its focus on cloud application (Azure) and Artificial intelligence (Zo). The uptake of Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform by more than 95% of fortune 500 companies shows that its cloud services and clients are on a gradual rise. Although having some good results and most employees undergoing a culture change, Mr. Nadella states that it is a difficult process to get everyone else on board and admits that cultural transformation is bound to be a slow process.
Although windows hold a 90% of the PC markets, the uptake of Windows 8. 1 is not as fast as it has a penetration of just 12%. Many people are still using Windows 7 and XP. This is a challenge to the firm as the management is still looking for ways to popularize it. The CEO is also an immigrant of Indian descent, and this may expose him to indifferent treatment by customers, employees, and board members who see him as an outsider. This will pose as a challenge especially when it comes to implementing policies relating to the company’s culture.
Nadella’s style of leadership contributed to his success as evidenced by better organizational performance. He is a team player who wants the very best out of his employees. Through encouraging his employees to learn continuously, he is able to show them that he cares for them as individuals and not as employees of Microsoft. The CEO is an avid reader and learner as he takes time to listen to the employee and customer feedback. He is also a visionary leader as he has curved out a new front for Microsoft in the cloud solutions world.
Many people do not realize the need for continuous learning in this technological era. My organization deals with money lending, and it was a bit difficult for most of the employees to transition into the digital system. Many employees were reluctant and could not get the reason why the transition was necessary. To most employees in my organization, data entry, and analysis using the specialized software is difficult, and is something that they had not anticipated.
I have learned the importance of supervision because many employees cannot do their work diligently without managerial supervision. This has greatly affected the work output as there is little to no work is done when the manager is away. The managers have not yet found a way to reverse this process, as they are part of the problem. They constantly watch over the employees and sometimes they micromanage, this has had negative effects on the morale of the employees. Nadella states that it is only through changing of one’s mindset that an individual can change his/her work output. If the manager had instilled a great learning culture then there would be no problem when it came to the use of the new system. The employees could be eager to take on the new challenge as it only involved learning a few details of the new system. The system could then save time and effort and ultimately increase their productivity. Managers and employees are bound to work seamlessly if they are both parts of the learning process. The manager should be aware of his role, and all involved to avoid micromanaging, as it will be detrimental to the employee result. This will also avoid the power battles between employees and managers, as they will understand that they are there for their mutual benefit. The employees could be informed of their roles and encourage them to produce results as it is for everyone’s benefit to meet the stated company’s target.
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