I knew that the environment would be dynamic and fast-paced – a reflection of its focus on driving innovation in the cloud. And I understand that CEO Satya Nadella has made some serious cultural changes over the years.
I recognized Microsoft’s emphasis on empathy and empowered others to achieve more, but it wasn’t until I realized that I realized Microsoft’s true practices that range from diversity and inclusivity to creation Technology is there which brings a change in society.
If you are not familiar with it, it is a two-year program, designed to help MBA graduates build strong relationships, accelerate leadership, and develop a meaningful career with Microsoft. So, what did I take away from my first in-person event?
Building authentic human relationships
I am not talking about networking in the traditional sense. This is not a job fair. Think of interactions that foster genuine connections between people who may have different backgrounds but similar career goals.
It began on an ordinary day with an ice breaker:
As basic as it may seem, we can often forget to touch base with team members who will be feeling stressed or down. By articulating our feelings, it helps to center our purpose for the day.
Within four days, we were assigned to different groups and participated in a wide variety of activities, enabling us to make as many authentic human connections as possible. In the workshop, we were paired with each other to answer questions such as ‘The Power of Human Connection’.
What do I like most? Who do I fear the most? What do I expect the most?
Building trust in a safe environment is the name of the game here – and with someone I’d never met before, the counter is running for the common belief that trust must be built over time. As the sutradharas have noted, ‘faith is something you give to someone, not something you earn.’
The idea also extended to the ‘Finding My Values’ workshop. Here, where we talked in detail about our triggers, acknowledged their feelings, and pressured them to find out when the action took place. What are my triggers – verbally one overflowing inbox is one, the other being hangout! – Helped me understand what I bring when I am not in my best form and what effect it has on others.
We win when we empower others and collaborate
‘Partnerships are a journey of mutual exploration, and we need unexpected synergies and new ways to collaborate. Openness begins with respect – respect for the people at the table and the experience they bring, respect for the other company and its mission. ‘- Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, hit refresh
While Satya was talking about partnering with our rivals, it could also refer to internal competition, and the common perception that business school students are dying to outdo each other.
From my experience, this is not true.
Don’t get me wrong, healthy rivalry can be stimulating in the professional setting of a competition, but I always learned to work with my classmates, rather than them. This is also true of my time at Microsoft – our KPIs demand that we build on the work of others and help colleagues succeed. My teammates often compliment each other on how they have acted. We give each other kudos, and are really interested in each other’s point of view during meetings.
During our week, we simulated running Microsoft for 4 years
Where the goal was not just revenue and consumption, but to foster a culture of inclusion and customer passion. However halfway the teams were asked to swap one member for another team member. Although our team reached the final spot, an important lesson learned was around on-boarding and asking the incoming team member what worked for them and what our strategy was, rather than taking on business as usual To go.
One of my favorite workshops was a hackathon to develop a sales tool or process to help 30,000 Microsoft vendors improve information flow between themselves and customers or between themselves and internal stakeholders.
My team looked at finance, human resources, technical sales, product marketing, and teaming up with the CMO to come up with Sam (vendor automated messenger), a chat-bot under the guise of a cute owl. Using machine learning and AI, the bot was able to assess customer requests and take them to the right vendor.