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10 changes CEO Nadella wants from Microsoft workers

Tim Greene | July 15, 2014
CEO Satya Nadella last week gave what amounted to a public tongue-lashing to Microsoft's 127,000 employees, which was followed up by an analyst's report that the company plans to announce layoffs of up to 10% of that number at its quarterly earnings report July 22.

We will increase the fluidity of information and ideas by taking actions to flatten the organization and develop leaner business processes. [Implication: Information moves too slowly and is bogged down by bloated layers of hierarchy.]

I am committed to making Microsoft the best place for smart, curious, ambitious people to do their best work. [Implication: Microsoft is not the best place for smart, curious, ambitious people to do their best work.]

Finally, every team across Microsoft must find ways to simplify and move faster, more efficiently. [Implication: team activities are too complex, and move too slowly and inefficiently.]

Many of these initiatives point out organizational or process problems that are the fault of management, so the memo may galvanize workers in the trenches with hope that a burdensome system may finally get out of the way.

And many of these initiatives directly respond to criticisms of Microsoft that were aimed at Nadella's predecessor Steve Ballmer.

But publicly broadcasting this culture change in such detail gives the impression that Microsoft in general isn't doing its best work and that workers haven't been giving enough, which is probably not the best way to effect change.

This high-profile dressing down combined with the rumored layoffs will have workers at Microsoft walking on egg shells.

That may be just what Nadella wants.


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