by Prajeet Nair

Four lessons for CIOs from Satya Nadella’s Hit Refresh

Nov 09, 2017
CIOIT Leadership

The recently launched book Hit Refresh by Satya Nadella talks his life journey from Hyderabad to leading the tech giant company Microsoft at Washington. In a talk with cricketing legend, Anil Kumble, they share how their life stories have inspired them to become what they are today.

Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella was in town to promote his book, Hit Refresh. The book titled `Hit Refresh’– The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone talks about his journey from his childhood to reaching the topmost position of the leading technology company Microsoft.

However, it was interesting to see how Nadella spoke from his heart in a one on one discussion with cricketing legend and former team India captain Anil Kumble. The engaging session featured many interesting incidents from both of their lives, which helped them to succeed in their respective careers.

Here are some interesting points which can help every CIOs to solve their problems and overcome difficult situations:

1) Be Empathetic

“There is no way we can succeed in life if we don’t have empathy. I have come to realize that empathy needs to be developed and it is not a destination,” Nadella said, while talking to Kumble.

The birth of his child Zain, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy changed Nadella’s life forever. It was then when he learnt about the value of empathy from his wife and decided to focus on improving Zain’s life instead of probing upon how this was going to affect him on the personal level. Afterwards, Nadella kept hitting refresh on his emotions and outlook towards life. Which he says also helped him reach the topmost position at Microsoft.

2) Blaze trails as a leader

Nadella talked of a particular match (School level) in which his off-spin bowling was getting smashed by the opponents. He says, “I was bowling trash, and my captain decided to come out to ball and he grabbed a wicket. Later, he came and asked me to bowl again, I ended up getting a seven-wicket haul. To bring the best in me and bolster my confidence, he believed and gave me another chance. Later, my captain also went on to play Ranji matches. Such a great leader he must be.”

3) Partnership with colleagues

A team effort is the most important thing for any leader, certain partnerships have helped many top leaders to achieve the feat they are in right now. “I wouldn’t have been able to achieve if my life partner has looked after my home, Kumble said.” Where Nadella explained how he even today uses leadership lessons he learned from cricket pitch. He even today as CEO, he puts his team first and then tries to bring out the best in everybody.

4) Keep innovating ideas

CIOs need to innovate new ideas, especially at the time of a crisis. Here is a great incident share by former Indian captain Anil Kumble.

The cricketing legend Anil Kumble said, “Talking about innovation like you (Satya) said, “I had one wicket for 100 runs and Australia were 400 for five wickets in the Adelaide Test match. We drew the first Test, there was a massive fight for my position in the team, and I was under pressure of performing for the match. You know when somebody in cricket turns 30 (age) people start talking about retirement. I decided to bowl a different type of bowl (googly), which I had practiced during my tennis ball days. I hadn’t quite perfected it, but now was an opportunity to try it out. I set an off-spinner’s field, instead of a leg-spinner and kept bowling the googlies. In the end, I picked up a six-fer in Australia, that’s when I realized this is who I am, some subtle changes and accept certain failures you can’t be on top your game always. That was my hit refresh moment. I needed an innovation and this helped me.”