Being a brilliant genius only gets you so far at Microsoft. When Satya Nadella became CEO of Microsoft in 2014, he encouraged a cultural shift in how employees showed up at work.
Instead of winning for how smart they were, Nadella wanted more employees to be celebrated for how open they were to learning.
Nadella wanted to encourage employees to harness their curiosity and become constant learners. He wanted fewer know-it-alls and more learn-it-alls.
Fixed mindset vs. growth mindset
Compare two kids at school. One is deemed "smart" and is a know-it-all. The other is deemed as less capable, but passionately enjoys learning. Ultimately, the learn-it-all will go on to do better than the know-it-all, Nadella explains.
The fixed mindset and growth mindset are another way to describe these qualities.
If you have a fixed mindset, you believe already know everything that you need to based on your inherent intelligence. You're less likely to seek out new knowledge that helps expand upon your understanding to help you solve problems. You're also more likely to get stuck when you experience setbacks.
If you have a growth mindset -- believing you can get smarter through dedication, hard work, and learning -- you'll be more motivated to expand your horizons. Setbacks are less detrimental because you believe you can grow and learn through them.
This growth mindset was the one the CEO of Microsoft wanted to see more of in his employees.
"It makes you a better person, a better colleague, a better friend, a better partner, and a better parent. It sort of integrates your work and life," Nadella said on the Hello Monday podcast.
Bill Gates is team growth mindset, too.
Nadella's desire to see more curiosity among Microsoft employees is a personality trait Bill Gates looks for, too. He recently spoke at his high school alma mater. When asked what he looks for when hiring leaders for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he was quick to respond.
They must be lifelong learners with a deep curiosity of the past, present, and future. "For the curious learner, these are the best of times because your ability to constantly refresh your knowledge with either podcasts or lectures that are online is better than ever," Gates said.