Nadella was born in Hyderabad, India, in 1967. He had been a rising star at Microsoft for a number of years before being named CEO of the firm in February of 2014.
Very soon after being confirmed as CEO, Nadella sent out a brief email to all of the employees of Microsoft. He was 46 years old at the time.
Here is the portion of Nadella’s email to Microsoft employees that really grabbed my attention:
Many who know me say I am… defined by my curiosity and thirst for learning. I buy more books than I can finish. I sign up for more online courses than I can complete. I fundamentally believe that if you are not learning new things, you stop doing great and useful things. So, family, curiosity and hunger for knowledge all define me.
Great and useful things
Under Nadella’s management, Microsoft has certainly taken new directions. He has done things that no one would have suspected Microsoft would ever do.
Consider that Nadella has found ways to turn Apple, Google, Linux and other full-time rivals in to (at least) part-time partners. Microsoft Office now runs on the iPad, and Microsoft SQL Server now runs on Linux.
Nadella’s new thinking has changed fortress Microsoft into collaborative Microsoft. By leaving “productivity” undefined (it’s whatever you want to accomplish) and embracing a cloud that is bigger than Microsoft, Nadella is helping to make the pie bigger for everyone.
From a personal point of view, I was pleasantly surprised that my Windows 10 cellphone and desktop are fully integrated via the cloud. If I miss a phone call on my cellphone, I get a notice on my Windows 10 desktop. If the battery is low on my cellphone, I get a notice on my Windows 10 desktop. If I tell Cortana (Windows 10 digital assistant) that I want to be reminded of something, the reminder shows up both on my cellphone and my desktop. My contacts and email are also fully synchronized and integrated without effort.
And, what about results? I hear you ask: By late 2016, Microsoft stock had hit its first new all-time high since 1999.
Okay. Enough about all that. Here’s the point I really wanted to get to, however.
If you are not learning new things…
In my day to day work as a business and supply chain consultant, I am constantly amazed and (frequently) frustrated by folks who are asking me to help them get the MRP, MRPII, or ERP systems to “work better” so that they can manage their supply chains more effectively and more profitably.
When I explain to them that the core logic employed by MRP, MRPII and ERP systems today with regard to inventory and supply chain management is logic that evolved in the 1950s, the give me (mostly) blank stares.
When I tell them that this 1950s-version logic was encoded into MRP, MRPII and ERP systems without any substantial changes during the 1980s and 1990s, they give me a “so what?” look.
When I tell them that today—nearly 70 years later—this same logic prevails in MRP and ERP systems with price tags ranging from several thousands of dollars to more than $1 million, they don’t seem to comprehend what I am saying.
The next conversation seems invariably to begin with, “Yes, but, can you get our MRP, MRPII or ERP system to help us manage our inventory and supply chain more effectively and more profitably?”
I tell them:
“What you need is new thoughtware! While we can tweak and get some improvements out of your traditional MRP, MRPII or ERP systems, the fact of the matter is, you need new ways of thinking. The days are long past when traditional MRP could be effective for most supply chains. It was designed and built for an entirely different world and a different age.”
We don’t want our customers to stop doing great and useful things simply because they have stopped learning new things.
Our goal is to introduce them to innovative new concepts that have proven to be successful in enterprises of all sizes—from mom-and-pop operations to multi-national corporations and divisions.
Be like Satya Nadella. Never stop learning; and never stop doing great and useful things!
Weinberger, Matt. "The Rise of Satya Nadella, the Game-Changing CEO of Microsoft." Business Insider. December 26, 2016. Accessed December 27, 2016. http://www.businessinsider.com/satya-nadella-the-rise-of-microsoft-ceo-2016-11.
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