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November 14, 2019

Technology came into my life as an unlikely passion, but one that continues to keep me curious and proactive in my pursuit of knowledge outside the boundaries of my pre-existing interests. This is the main reason why, when I was presented with the unique opportunity to attend two sessions at the 2019 Fast Company Innovation Festival, I selected “Unlocking a New Era of Musical Experience Through Augmented Reality” and “A Conversation with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.”

While learning about the advances being made in augmented reality and its impact on the entertainment industry was enthralling to say the least, the session that has stuck with me the most over the past week is the conversation with Satya Nadella. As a PR representative and a consumer, it takes a lot to keep up with the latest and greatest in tech, which is why I am fascinated by the men and women at the helm who are faced with the everyday pressure to maintain equality with intense competitors, stay ahead of the curve, constantly innovate, and lead with integrity in an age where the creation and implementation of advanced technology is a grey area.

Satya Nadella was the opposite of what I expected. As the leader of one of the largest, most influential technology companies in the world, I expected a more overtly confident, forceful speaker. Instead, I found myself listening to a very humble, grounded man who spoke thoughtfully about the future of technology, the value he has for his employees and the responsibilities and expectations of someone in his position. It is with that that I share three key lessons I took away from this session.

1. Stay curious

The words “Amazon” and “Google” were hardly used by Nadella, yet he spoke on the subject of competition and the enormous pressure to not only stay above water in a sea of very capable competitors, but the necessity to hold your own. According to Nadella, when a technology company becomes complacent and says to themselves, “mission accomplished,” they are already behind. In this industry, the mission will never be fully accomplished.

2. Value your employees

Nadella addressed the common misconception that CEOs are the be-all, end-all at a company. Giving your employees a voice in the day-to-day and keeping them involved in the big conversations keeps them motivated to continue working to their fullest potential for their CEOs. In an industry where many of these names are never heard and the jobs seem thankless at times, this inclusive leadership style is incredibly important.

3. Be a learn-it-all, not a know-it-all.

The phrase “never stop learning” might seem cliché, and it’s certainly easy to see how those who have achieved so much wealth and success in their lifetime can let this ideology fall to the wayside. According to Nadella, however, no matter your status or net worth there is always room to learn and grow. As the world changes, even the most intelligent people must shift their perspectives and remain open-minded to new ideas and philosophies.

 

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