I've been a fan of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella for some time. From encouraging employees after an epic fail to the amazing autonomy he's granted LinkedIn (after that company's recent acquisition), Nadella has proven he's the right leader to guide Microsoft into the future.
Of course, Nadella took over a position that was once held by the company's founder and world's wealthiest man Bill Gates. But in a recent interview with USA Today, Nadella showed that he's not afraid to forge his own path--by sharing what he saw as a flaw in Gates's original mission statement.
"When I joined the company in 1992, we used to talk about our mission as putting a PC in every home, and by the end of the decade we have done that, at least in the developed world," said Nadella.
"It always bothered me that we confused an enduring mission with a temporal goal."
For his part, Nadella has tried to embrace a more forward-thinking philosophy.
Just a few examples:
- Microsoft Azure (the company's cloud computing service) is growing rapidly, and second in market share only to Amazon's AWS
- A new commitment to producing high-level hardware (like the Surface Studio and Surface Book), as well as the focus on artificial intelligence and augmented reality, have all made Microsoft exciting to consumers again
- The company has encouraged contributions from non-traditional sources, by means of campus hackathons and monthly town halls that are accessible to all 120,000 global employees
- The recent ($26 billion) acquisition of LinkedIn has huge real-world implications, and could profoundly influence the way the world works for decades to come
But despite all the changes Microsoft's new leader has instituted, he continues to have a profound respect for the company's tradition. Referencing early work from Gates and co-founder Paul Allen, Nadella credits both men as his inspiration:
"A lot of technology has come and gone...but we are that same company, a company that creates technology (and) puts it into other people's hands so they can create more technology."
Nonetheless, it's all about moving forward. As Nadella sums it up:
"If you don't focus on creating a culture that allows people to do their best work, then you've created nothing."