This is a shift away from the previous command-and-control model, towards a culture of learning and coaching that empowers staff. This fits with the new Microsoft mission statement: “to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”
A culture of experimentation
Research has found that organisational mindsets set the tone for company culture, so it was important for Microsoft to consider the growth model across its whole management structure. The aim is for managers to coach staff and provide a place in which they can make mistakes, learn and grow.
That reinforces the need for a culture of experimentation. In the digital world it is easy to test variations of a website or how a digital service is provided and quickly switch to the most effective. Microsoft has done this kind of testing since before Mr Nadella’s time but, though it pre-dates him, the method of test, learn and iterate is the growth mindset in action.
The company is prioritising a growth mindset in its recruitment and has also begun to work on addressing the digital skills shortage more widely. Last year it announced a partnership with education provider General Assembly to train 15,000 people in AI-related skills by 2022. The aim is to fill roles in aerospace, manufacturing and many other sectors affected by the talent scarcity.
Providing a sense of purpose
Microsoft is a prime example of the importance of company culture in attracting and retaining talent. Creating a growth mindset requires employees to be customer obsessed. The fixed mindset says customers can’t have a better service, while a growth mindset finds ways to meet their needs. It requires diversity and inclusivity, because diverse teams have better information for good decisions.