By Michael McKeogh
The Leadership Illawarra Program cohort had the privilege of visiting the Microsoft office in Sydney where we heard from some of the Microsoft leadership team and observed firsthand their own brand of working environment and leadership.
There were three main areas of innovation that stood out:
Leadership at Microsoft has evolved as a result of a cultural renewal program implemented over 15-years. The first few years of cultural renewal focused on higher levels of management and when they were clear on what was to be achieved, it then cascaded throughout the organisation.
Some of the change was brought about by:
New company values were accepted and adopted. The new values include:
As part of the process, Microsoft changed the way it recruited people, so it became far more about the attitude of the person than their skills.
The impact of each employee’s work is assessed, rather than their level of activity. “Busy work” does not count; for example, attending sixty meetings isn’t necessarily rewarded. The result of each meeting is what is important. All about impact. Results based.
The new system allows for changes in the work environment. Staff are able to work hours that fit in with the business and their personal lives, provided results are achieved.
Good results are publicly acknowledged. At Microsoft, each person is a part of a team, and it is the team’s result that is measured overall and then the person’s performance within that team. The outcome of the work teams is rewarded, as well as individual performance. This requires close collaboration rather than having individuals going off and doing their own thing. You can't pretend to be a good leader, you must be committed to it. They employ leaders that want to see their people develop and attract and retain the right staff by:
The cohort appreciated the insightful and innovative presentation and hospitality provided by Microsoft and each of us went away considering how some of these work practices could be applied in our own work environments.
Blog posts written by the Leadership Illawarra Program.