Satya Nadella’s Microsoft Just Became the Most Valued Company in the World. And It’s Thanks to Psychology, Not Tech

Growth mindset and empathy are the reason why Microsoft is back on top.

On a not so ordinary Friday, Microsoft reclaimed its throne as the most valuable publicly traded company. This seismic shift in the tech landscape isn’t rooted in advanced algorithms or cutting-edge hardware; it’s a tale of psychological transformation, spearheaded by CEO Satya Nadella over the past decade.

In 2014, Nadella took the helm of a company mired in a ‘know-it-all’ culture. He swiftly pivoted towards a ‘learn-it-all’ mentality, embedding the principles of a growth mindset into the very fabric of Microsoft’s ethos. This was more than a corporate strategy; it was a psychological revolution within the workplace.

Growing with the right mindset

The concept of a growth mindset, popularized by psychologist Carol Dweck, posits that abilities and intelligence can be developed. It’s a stark contrast to the fixed mindset, where abilities are viewed as static. Nadella’s embrace of this philosophy transformed Microsoft from an organization resting on its laurels to one fervently pursuing learning and growth.

Under Nadella’s leadership, Microsoft employees were encouraged to view challenges as opportunities for growth, failures as lessons, and feedback as a pathway to improvement. This culture shift had profound implications for individuals, teams, and the organizational culture at large. Team collaboration soared, innovation became a daily norm, and employees were empowered to take calculated risks without the fear of failure.

Connecting with empathy

Alongside fostering a growth mindset, Nadella emphasized empathy, recognizing it as a key driver of innovation and customer connection. He often cited the influence of the book Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg, which underscores empathy’s role in effective communication and relationship-building. This push for empathy wasn’t just about better understanding customers’ needs; it was about creating a more inclusive and understanding workplace where diverse ideas could flourish and people felt safe to take risks.

Rory Sutherland, behavioral scientist and author, said recently, “The next revolution is not technological, it’s psychological.” Microsoft’s resurgence is a testament to this. By leveraging psychological insights, Nadella steered the company towards understanding and meeting the evolving needs of its customers and employees.

This psychological approach has broad implications for business success. Technology alone is not a panacea. Understanding human behavior, motivations, and the power of mindset can lead to more sustainable and profound success. It’s the humans behind the tech that matter most. Microsoft’s story under Nadella’s leadership is a clarion call for integrating psychology into business strategies. As Microsoft continues to evolve under this psychological paradigm, it sets a new benchmark for what companies can achieve when they focus on the human element.

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Coach John Wooden A Winning Character

John Wooden’s classmates looked up the definition too. They wrote at length about wealth and power, fame and glory, filling their papers with examples of championships won, records broken, and money earned.

Wooden didn’t agree with their definition.

As a sophomore in high school, he had trouble understanding why. He didn’t know how to articulate the problems with the definition we all go by, a definition we read in Mr. Webster’s dictionary and take for granted, a given our friends, family, co-workers, boss and society share with us and expect everyone to live up to.

Warren Buffett Says He Became Filthy Rich Because He Played by 1 Simple Rule of Life

Warren Buffett Says He Became Filthy Rich Because He Played by 1 Simple Rule of LifeWarren Buffett believes this rule is essential to building success.

Warren Buffett believes this rule is essential to building success.

Warren Buffett is widely considered one of the most successful investors ever. Yet despite his immense wealth and status, Buffett measures his success in a unique way – through his ‘inner scorecard.’

Buffett’s inner scorecard is a set of personal values and principles that guide his decision-making and behavior. Unlike many people who measure their success by external factors like money or fame, Buffett believes that true success comes from living up to your own values and principles. 

So why does Buffett place so much importance on his inner scorecard? It’s because he believes that when you measure your success based on external factors, you become more focused on what others think of you rather than what you truly value. By focusing on his values and principles, Buffett has made decisions that align with his vision of success rather than society’s.

Build your inner scorecard

For Buffett, the most important values are integrity, honesty, and generosity. He believes these values are essential to building success and are the foundation of a strong personal and professional reputation. Perhaps this is a good starting point to build your own inner scorecard. Let’s expand on each:

1. Integrity

Living and working with integrity has numerous benefits, both personally and professionally. When you work with integrity, people trust you. They know you are reliable, ethical and won’t cut corners. This can help you build stronger relationships with colleagues, clients, and customers. Also, when you work with integrity, you are more likely to have a positive reputation, which can open up new opportunities for you and help you advance in your career. Buffett once said, “In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don’t have the first one, the other two will kill you.”

2. Honesty

When you work with honesty, you can feel good about yourself. You know that you are not deceiving or misleading others, which can give you self-respect and self-worth. You’re also more focused on your work. You’re not worried about covering up mistakes or being caught in a lie, which can help you be more productive and efficient. Finally, being honest leads to better communication. When you are honest in your interactions, you can avoid misunderstandings and conflicts. 

3. Generosity

Generosity may not directly lead to wealth, but it can contribute to overall success and financial well-being in various ways. Being perceived as generous can build goodwill, lead to new business or career opportunities, and help you build a strong network of contacts and mentors. Additionally, the concept of karma suggests that being generous can attract positive outcomes, and generosity can contribute to emotional well-being and a sense of purpose. According to one study report, people are happier when “spending money on others than on themselves, and this happiness motivates them to be generous in the future.” Other studies show that generosity can release endorphins in the brain, creating feelings of happiness and joy. Giving can also help to build and strengthen relationships. In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, participants who were asked to give to others reported feeling more connected to those individuals and had more positive interactions with them.

In conclusion, Warren Buffett’s inner scorecard is a unique measure of success. You can succeed in your career and personal life by living up to your values and principles. It’s a valuable lesson for anyone looking to find true success and fulfillment.

Curiosity Has Two Faces

Curiosity Has Two Faces

By Annelise Jolley

We’re born with an insatiable appetite for new information. This hunger, which we call curiosity, is a universal trait, though people possess it in varying degrees and express it through different behaviors. Curiosity is widely considered a virtue, being closely linked to other traits we value: creativityintellectual humility, and empathy. Curious students achieve at higher levels in school. Curious members of a group help create common ground. Recent scientific study has even linked the trait to more satisfying intimate relationships and greater perceived meaning in life. 

Yet not all curiosity is created equally, something humans have long intuited. Its potential danger has deep roots in our myths and stories. Curiosity killed the cat, as the old saying goes. Eve’s hunger for knowledge led her to eat the fateful fruit. The Roman philosopher Cicero, who defined curiosity as “our innate love of learning,” theorized that it wasn’t the Siren’s sweet voices in The Odyssey that wrecked ships but rather “their professions of knowledge …it was the passion for learning that kept men rooted to the Sirens’ rocky shores.”

Recently, a quartet of researchers confirmed the hunch that not all types of curiosity lead to virtuous behavior, along with a number of other exciting discoveries. The team is made up of Daphna Shohamy and Ran Hassin of Columbia University, Thalia Wheatley of Dartmouth, and Jonathan Schooler of University of California Santa Barbara. With funding from the John Templeton Foundation, the researchers spent the last several years investigating the role of curiosity in learning, creativity, and social connection. 

Curiosity’s two faces

“It’s important to emphasize that there are different kinds of curiosity,” says Schooler. Of these expressions, the team focused their research on two kinds: general interest curiosity and deprivation curiosity. General interest curiosity celebrates a lack of knowledge as an opportunity to gain more knowledge. People who exhibit this trait are motivated to learn for learning’s sake. 

As Schooler puts it, general interest curiosity takes “delight in the fact that we don't know everything and that there’s so much wonderful information to graze out there.”

This expression stands in awe before mystery and accepts all that we do not—and cannot—know, which means it’s closely linked to intellectual humility. 

Deprivation curiosity, on the other hand, functions in a utilitarian way. Rather than an exploratory desire to learn, it wants an answer to fill a gap in knowledge. Deprivation curiosity stems from an aversion to not knowing something; its motivation is to squelch the discomfort of uncertainty. Because deprivation curiosity clamors for information as a way to avoid unknowing, it’s linked to a lack of intellectual humility. This drive to find an answer isn’t always bad, says Schooler. “We do think it’s likely to be an important complement to general interest curiosity. You can easily imagine that when Einstein was pursuing his passion for understanding relativity he had a sense of, ‘I must get to the bottom of this—I won’t sleep until I do!’” 

Because deprivation curiosity is linked to intellectual arrogance, it predicts other negative behaviors. “When you lack intellectual humility—when you feel like you need to know everything and you realize there’s something you don’t know—that leads to an uncomfortable gap.” In order to fill this gap and minimize discomfort, people tend to look for answers without discernment. For example, “we see them accepting fake news because they don’t like the feeling of uncertainty that maybe this [news] isn’t true,” Schooler says. In a similar way, deprivation curiosity can lead people to create false memories. When we seek an answer purely to avoid not knowing, in other words, we run the risk of accepting the wrong answer.

Conversational curiosity

Cognitive scientist Thalia Wheatley studies curiosity’s role in relationships. The guiding question behind her research: Do more curious people connect in different ways than less curious people?

In a word, yes. As with intellectual humility, a person’s willingness to tolerate uncertainty plays a significant role. “What we find is that people who are stress tolerant—who have a willingness to sit with uncertainty—are exploratory in their conversations,” says Wheatley. If you were to design a map indicating where curious people travel in conversation, the map would show them ranging further, diving deeper, and covering a broader spectrum of ideas. This kind of conversational exploration and openness is not only predicted by a higher stress tolerance but also by general interest curiosity, or what Wheatley calls “joyous exploration.” 

Conversational curiosity is a critical piece of what connects us to one another. When you consider your closest relationships, this isn’t all that surprising. We feel cared for when someone listens closely, asks questions, and generally exhibits a desire to know more about us. This kind of relational curiosity fosters intimacy between people even across disagreement. “This engagement with another mind—this actual curiosity about what someone else believes and a willingness to hear an alternate interpretation or explanation—is really important for connection,” she explains. 

What is surprising is the team’s discovery that our brains actually change when we practice curiosity in social interactions. In one study, participants watched video clips while lying in a brain scanner. The short clips were played without context or sound, so viewers had to piece together what the scenes depicted. Participants then came together to talk about what they’d seen and to work out what took place in the clips. Once the group arrived at a shared understanding, they returned to the brain scanners and watched the clips again—this time through the lens of other viewers’ interpretations. Among participants who exhibited curiosity during the group conversation, the scanners showed a change in brain activity. The people who listened carefully and asked questions, who were willing to alter their perceptions based on others’ insights, later adapted their own brain activity to match that of group members. 

Curiosity helped to literally change people’s minds and align neural activity within a group.

Wheatley’s study demonstrated that people who are curious about others’ points of view are more likely to create alignment in their group. In contrast, those who tend to dominate the conversation are neurally inflexible and prevent collective agreement. “[Curiosity] really creates common ground across brains, just by virtue of having the intellectual humility to say, ‘Okay, I thought it was like this, but what do you think?’ And being willing to change your mind,” she says. 

In a time of deep polarization and cultural divides, this discovery has particularly urgent and practical implications. The U.S. is experiencing a kind of divide that researchers call “intractable conflict,” in which people’s interactions with those who hold differing opinions become increasingly charged. Curiosity offers a way to diffuse this charge, opening the possibility for deeper listening and more neural flexibility. It helps combat intellectual arrogance and discomfort with ambiguity. Of course, the goal isn’t to get everyone to think the same way. In a group, Wheatley says, “You need these highly central people who are going to create common goals and common ground. But you also need people on the fringes, the quirky, independent voices that are going to cause new ideas to emerge.” But a willingness to listen, change your mind, and incorporate new perspectives could go a long way in bridging some of the conversational divides we face today.

How People With High Emotional Intelligence Use ‘the Roy Kent Rule’ to Become Remarkably Successful “I give him love. And as for why he did what he did, that’s none of my business.”

How People With High Emotional Intelligence Use the Roy Kent Rule to Become Remarkably Successful’

I give him love. And as for why he did what he did, that’s none of my business.’

BY BILL MURPHY JR.

This is a story about Ted Lasso and emotional intelligence — especially emotional intelligence for leaders

Let’s set it all up with a question: Has anything like the following ever ever happened to you?

  • You gather your team for an exciting announcement. You’re sure it will improve their lives better and earn them more money. But your words fall flat, and you can’t figure out why.
  • You see a competitor that beat you recently for a key client. You make a joke of it — and yet, they react with bitterness and anger. Where on earth is that coming from? You have no idea.
  • You call an employee into the office for a tough but important conversation. Instead of listening or agreeing — or doing anything, really — they simply shut down. You have no idea if your message is getting through, or if they even want to work for you.

They’re all frustrating scenarios, for sure. What they have in common is that you say or do something with good intentions, and you get an emotional reaction that’s basically the opposite of what you expect.

People with high emotional intelligence understand what’s going on, and the fact that they do gives them an immense advantage.

To illustrate it, I’m going to use a story from the most recent episode of the Apple TV show, Ted Lasso, a popular comedic drama (or a dramatic comedy?) about a fictional professional soccer team in England.

You don’t need to watch the show in order for this to make sense. (Although, I recommend it.) In short, the most recent episode has two key plot points:

  • First, a star player, Isaac McAdoo, reacts to a fan’s taunting, which includes a gay slur, by charging into the stands and physically confronting the fan — and thus getting himself thrown out of the game.
  • Second, the assistant coach, a former player named Roy Kent, has to face the press afterward and answer questions about what got into McAdoo, and whether the team stands behind him for having run into the stands.

Here’s part of what Roy Kent (played by Brett Goldstein) has to say.

"What a stupid ... question. Of course we don't [condone it]. What Isaac did was awful.   ... [But], none of us knows what is going on in each other's lives. So, for Isaac to do what he did today, even though it was wrong, I give him love. And as for why he did what he did, that's none of my ... business. Next question."

Now, if you watch the show, you’ll understand that two out of the three ellipses above are about me editing out all the F-bombs that normally come up in Kent’s lines; it’s part of his charm. (Video is embedded at the end, but again: same warning.)

But, there’s a lot of wisdom in that line — and we might add, emotional intelligence for leaders. 

Here’s what it comes down to. People with high emotional intelligence understand that sometimes, your words fall flat, or your invitation doesn’t get an answer, or you wind up with a completely different emotional response than you expect–and it has absolutely nothing to do with you personally. You’re often best off just forgetting the whole thing and moving on.

But, leaders don’t get that option, unless they want to abdicate their leadership role.

You can’t simply ignore that your employees aren’t engaged, or that your competitor now seems inexplicably angry, or that your team isn’t enthused by the goals or opportunities you’ve set out. You have to react somehow.

And the way to react is the way the fictional character Roy Kent suggests: You have to find a way to give them love.

  • Maybe it means asking a few questions, figuring out what’s going on behind the scenes, and holding a second meeting with your team.
  • Maybe it means sending another note to that competitor, and making sure that there’s no other fact you’re not aware of that might have created bad blood.
  • Maybe it’s about being proactive, and finding out what’s been going on with the employee whose actions led you to think you needed a tough conversation, and seeing if there are ways you can help him or her succeed.

None of us knows what is going on in each other’s lives. It’s such a key thing to realize in emotional intelligence, and such a simple thing to remember. In honor of the TV show that has now provided us with a pithy way to remember it, we’ll call it the Roy Kent Rule. 

Because, as I write in my free ebook, 9 Smart Habits of People With Very High Emotional Intelligence, I like things that are simple–just because it’s much more likely I’ll stick with them.

Next question.