Earlier this month was Satya Nadella’s 3rd anniversary as CEO of Microsoft; 3 years that some see as the most progressive in the history of the company. Not only is Nadella a great leader (that much is clear), he is a great inspirational speaker and all round nice guy. To celebrate his achievement we’ve compiled 5 quotes from Satya Nadella that inspire us to do better business.

‘It is [important] to have a learning culture that fosters true innovation’

Nadella is all about having a learning mindset, commenting in an interview with Steve Clayton  “I love to learn. I get excited about new things. I buy more books than I read. I sign up for more online courses than I can actually finish…[I’m] just crazy ambitious in the 15 minutes I have in the morning. You know, I’m trying to listen to a neuroscience class or something.” It’s all too easy, especially in business, to think that the time for learning is over, but Nadella shows that successful business hinges on continual learning. This couldn’t be more relevant at Mercurius, where we aim to support each other in our learning wherever we can; whether that be recommending a book (I’m currently reading  Eliyahu Goldratt’s “The Goal” on a colleague recommendation) or taking 5 minutes to show someone a software feature they might have missed.

‘I’m grounded in our challenges…in fact, that is the adventure’

Satya Nadella is well aware that life (and business) isn’t always plain sailing. In a competitive business environment, it’s tempting to hide away failures and show off achievements but it’s important to reflect upon and learn from challenges too. If nothing ever goes wrong, there’s no path for improvement, ‘you’ve got to make sure that if you make mistakes, you learn from [them]’.

‘We spend far too much time at work for it not to have deep meaning’

Nadella has no interest in working his employees like machines. Though results are important, he sees that a rewarding and enriching work life will in turn breed harder workers and better results. In our lifetime it is estimated that we will spend more than 80,000 hours at work, with some of us spending much more than that at our desks. It seems ludicrous for that time not to count for something more meaningful than a paycheck. That is why Nadella is continuously focused on inspiring his colleagues at Microsoft in the work they are doing.

‘The dream has always been ‘how can we transform how work is done?’

It’s no secret that the world of work is transforming before our eyes, with 65% of today’s students aiming for jobs that don’t yet exist . “The notion that you went to school until you were 21 and then after that got into a profession and stayed in that same profession until you’re 80 is just not going to be true anymore, because of the pace of technological change in that period”, Nadella commented in an interview. He’s right. Business technologies such as Dynamics NAV and SharePoint will become increasingly vital to the way we work over the coming years so the question is not ‘how can we sell this product?’ but ‘how can we transform how work is done?’.

‘We are pursuing [Artificial Intelligence] so that we can empower every person and every institution…to solve the most pressing problems of our society.’

Nadella recognises that technology is for everyone, not just those to whom it is readily available. It is about improving life and society for everyone with a democratising effect and doing something good for the global community. “The most exciting thing to me is beyond what we are doing ourselves, which is to take the same AI capability we have and make it available so everybody can use it,” he says. “Take the state I was born in and the state I live in. Both are using essentially the same machine-learning algorithms to make high school dropout predictions. That to me is democratising AI.”

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