Leadership: Five things you need to do?

Writing in USA Today journalists, Alistair Barr and Scott Martin, suggest five things that Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, needs to do. This advice includes, embrace the cloud; free its software from Windows; fix mobile; woo developers and focus. It is not bad advice at all for the giant that to some extent needs to reinvent itself.

handIn fact it is advice that could be applied across a swathe of companies and is more generic than might at first glance appear.  Let’s take a brief look at each one of these points and ask ‘how’ and ‘if’ it could apply to your own context.

Embrace the cloud. Certainly the cloud changes things. Just last week in a leadership development programme in Atlanta I asked a global leader in the insurance sector, what a, ‘cloud based insurance company’ might look like. It generated some interesting discussion and the reality is that whereas ‘the cloud’ was once considered unreliable and risky, such perceptions are fading quickly. The cloud is a potential game-changer; the trick is to know how it might be so for you.

Free your software from Windows. The broader point here is that you might need to ‘free’ yourself from restrictive systems, processes and programmes that are simply no longer as effective or efficient as they once were. This usually proves to be much harder than it sounds as to ‘free yourself’ one has to overcome a mountain of obstacles, the sole purpose of which, is to maintain the status quo. This is what often keeps companies from being adaptive – from being nimble and quick. Adaptive companies learn to how and where to cannibalize themselves. It is a necessary part of how to ‘stay alive’ in an exponentially changing world. Ironic isn’t it?

Fix mobile. Mobile will soon be the dominant route to information and quite possibly to your market. It certainly is already how younger generations connect, communicate and source information. Failure to be asking the ‘right questions’ in this area and what it means both inside and outside of your business, might just mean you are left behind with only the dust of your competitors to keep you company.

Woo developers. So who would be ‘your developers’? Make sure you know who are the most important people to your business success and then ensure that your policies and service is geared towards making them happy. If it (your policies and processes) doesn’t make then happy, scrap them for they are not doing what they should be doing. Network, connect, go to – as opposed to waiting for other to come to you, and realise that what it takes to ‘woo’ these days has changed from what it once used to be. You might not like it but that is the reality in a changing world. Dating skills have changed although some of the basic principles remain the same. Best know what has changed and what hasn’t otherwise you might just be home alone.

Focus. Never bad advice ever. Focus, focus, focus. Know what you want; what you are good at, and what you need to do. Distraction is the enemy of achievement and without focus the chances are you will never get to where you could have been – and that we term, ‘a waste’.

Five things that Mr. Nadella needs to do. Five things that just maybe you too ‘need to do’? It might not be a bad idea to make these five points the topic of conversation at your next Exco or management meeting.

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