Startup Advice

How this book on parenting inspired Microsoft chief Satya Nadella’s approach to leading a multibillion-dollar tech company

Dinushi Dias /

Satya Nadella Microsoft

Source: Microsoft

Microsoft’s chief executive Satya Nadella has revealed how a book he was reading to gain insights into educating his children ended up being a powerful guiding force on his approach to leading one of the world’s largest tech companies.

Speaking to Business Insider Polska, Nadella said Professor Carol Dweck’s book Mindset, which explores psychological insights into parenting, schools, relationships and business, contains critical lessons for leaders to inspire teams and build great culture.

“I was reading it not in the context of business or work culture, but in the context of my children’s education,” Nadella says.

“The author describes the simple metaphor of kids at school. One of them is a ‘know-it-all’ and other is a ‘learn-it-all’, and the ‘learn-it-all’ always will do better than the other one even if the ‘know-it-all’ kid starts with much more innate capability.

“Going back to business: if that applies to boys and girls at school, I think it also applies to CEOs, like me, and entire [organisations], like Microsoft.

“We want to be not a ‘know-it-all’ but ‘learn-it-all’ organization.”

Nadella says developing this mindset in a workplace requires more than “putting up a poster in a conference room” that everyone reads and forgets.

“Most people think that culture is something that happens to them, but what is important is that you take responsibility for culture — after all it’s just a reflection of all of us, our every behavior and every action of ours,” he says.

Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, TwitterLinkedIn and iTunes.

Dinushi Dias

Dinushi Dias is a freelance journalist and a former StartupSmart reporter and multimedia content producer. She is the co-founder of Melbourne-based production house Dinushi & Power.

We Recommend