Microsoft has to “look like everyone and every organisation in the world” for it to accomplish its mission, the technology giant’s Indian-born CEO Satya Nadella has said, asserting the importance of “diversity and inclusion” amid an environment of divisiveness.
An aspect “we are focussed a ton on is we say we want to empower the world, everyone and every organisation. That means we have got to look like everyone and every organisation in the world,” Nadella said during an interaction with students and faculty at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering and the Stern School of Business last week.
Asked by a student about the actions he has taken since assuming the role of Microsoft’s CEO to change the culture within the company, Nadella alluded to Microsoft’s mission to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”
He stressed that diversity and inclusion is critical to achieve this core mission. “Diversity and inclusion is huge. It obviously starts by having a workforce that is diverse but inclusion is a cultural piece that we all have to work on everyday,” he said at the interaction during his visit to the University on February 7.
He said inclusion “shows up in every meeting, starting with me.” “Am I able to actually conduct a meeting where everyone is able to contribute their best because we all come with different styles, we have different cultural upbringings, what makes us tick is different. So you got to have leaders who are in-tuned with that,” he said.
Nadella stressed the culture of diversity and inclusion has to be developed across the company and Microsoft is striving hard to achieve it. “I will not by any stretch say at Microsoft we have excellence in it. I’ll say we are going to, everyday of the week, push to get better and better at creating that more inclusive culture. It starts with each mindset,” he said.
“The culture is just a reflection of you and what you do in an organisation. The more you take responsibility for it, the more you feel empowered to change culture versus being stuck in some culture you don’t like,” he said.
Nadella’s comments come against the backdrop of a divisive and anti-immigrant rhetoric engulfing the US under the presidency of Donald Trump. In particular, Trump’s executive order to temporarily ban entry into the US of immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations was met with severe criticism and opposition by American companies across the spectrum.
Hyderabad-born Nadella, during an employee Q&A on January 30, had addressed the executive order on immigration, saying there is no place for bias or bigotry in any society. He had credited America’s “enlightened immigration policy” that had helped him achieve tremendous professional success.
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