Business leaders, technical evangelists, culture whisperers, founders, doctors and best-selling authors... while their roles and responsibilities may vary, the one thing this year's Microsoft Summit speakers have in common is their ability to provide food for thought. But don't just take our word for it — take theirs. We've collected three takeaways to ascend your professional career and company culture to the top of the (Microsoft) Summit. Read them, absorb them, tweet them and share them with your friends and colleagues.
1) “Never make a big decision after lunch.”
— Dr. Amantha Imber, Founder of Inventium.
Closing keynote speaker Dr. Amantha Imber asked the audience to raise their hands if they prefer to make big decisions:
(a) In the morning
(b) In the afternoon
(c) All day long
Luckily, I have a penchant for making important decisions (a) in the morning because according to the good doctor we have a limited battery of decision making power and every decision we make depletes that battery over the course of the day. By the end of the day decision fatigue sets in—and that’s when poor decisions are made. As such, Dr. Amantha suggests scheduling big decisions before lunch to optimise your decision making quality (assuming you’ve had a good night’s sleep and not been dancing ’til dawn).
2) “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” — Peter Drucker, management consultant, educator and author.
Microsoft’s Chief Story Teller Steve Clayton gave us a behind the scenes tour of Microsoft’s cultural transformation. It started with the ushering in of a new Nadella era, where culture was king and it feasted on strategy for breakfast. Then came the introduction of a “Culture Cabinet” to uphold and reinforce an organisational growth mindset. Later, an insatiable curiosity and need to always be learning arose. Microsoft partners care about culture too. Interestingly, culture transformation (not technology) is the number one requested session by customers at Microsoft Redmond.
3) “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”
— Ken Blanchard, author and management expert.
Amy Rixon, Chief Culture Officer of a Melbourne IT company reflected on her first interview with her employer back in 2015. Upon entering the boardroom, Rixon saw two men sitting side by side at a table. The man on the left was dressed down in a t-shirt and sneakers, sporting a tussled hairdo and using a streamlined laptop with a large sticker on the back. The man on the right was dressed in a suit and leather shoes with slicked back hair and had a clunky laptop and long corded mouse before him. Rixon would later learn the men were visual representations of two cultures colliding due to a merger. Fortunately, they hired Rixon who would serve up the breakfast food of feedback (and even keeps a “Feedback is the breakfast of champions” note on her desk)—something the company desperately craved to integrate two disparate cultures into one. Today, Rixon’s workplace continues to prioritise culture and has seen steady growth across the last three years which is a feat in itself given 83% of mergers fail.
And there you have it — three inspiring takeaways to fuel your journey to the top from the experts at #MSFTSummit!
By Julia Johnson, Global Marketing Manager of Sensei.
Known for her expertise integrating cross regional marketing functions in mergers and acquisitions, Julia brings tenacity, focus and understanding to growing successful B2B tech brands.