“Hit Refresh” is book by Satya Nadella that takes us through a fascinating journey about how this unlikely CEO is leading the resurgence at Microsoft with his unique leadership style that has been shaped by his upbringing, the influence of his parents and some life defining events. For example, there is a touching incident about how his first son was born with severe cerebral palsy and how it led him to become deeply empathetic, a quality that we don’t commonly associate with CEOs.
CEOs are known to focus on Strategy, hard revenue numbers rather than something as amorphous as Culture. But is is interesting that Satya took up fixing Microsoft’s culture as the number one priority after becoming the CEO. Satya sees CEO role as the curator of the organisation’s culture. Satya set out to change the culture at Microsoft dominated by fiefdoms and warring factions by replacing it with what he calls growth mindset in three distinct ways. First, an obsession with customers. Second, to actively seek diversity and inclusion. Not just value diversity but actively seek them out and as a result, get better ideas and create better products. Finally, break the fiefdoms and build one Microsoft.
On the flip side, there are limitations of an active CEO writing a book about his company as it is not possible to be too open about the company’s strategy or too critical about people. So, for example, we miss the insights on LinkedIn acquisition or how Satya was selected against the other contenders for the CEO role.
All in all, a pretty decent read on how an unlikely CEO is leading Microsoft’s resurgence. If things go well under his watch, one should expect another book from Satya in a few more years given his penchant for literature.