The economic climate of 2023 is rocky, and already we’ve seen companies make hard decisions — Microsoft among them. How do you navigate these uncomfortable moments and show up as a good leader for your team?
Yes, the tech industry has had a tremendous growth spurt in the last 3-5 years, and things are now balancing out based on the new reality. Lots of companies are making hard decisions. In this atmosphere, I go back to strategy — what is the goal, how are we going to do it? We are creating the framework, looking closely at what we are prioritizing, deciding what we’re going to do (or not going to do), and doing all of this in close collaboration with our employees and partners.
I think there are a few important things to keep in mind during these times. I believe my role is to help everyone see how they are contributing to the strategy, what we’re going to do and what we will achieve. Our goals and priorities have to be super clear and people have to be connected to them.
The other thing that is of paramount importance is company culture. It would be easy to dismiss or ignore culture when things are difficult. But this is exactly when a healthy culture is most important. Our CEO has been known to say “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” and that’s what he’s talking about.
My personal mentor taught me that people are essential to the success of anything. They are the essence. In every customer conversation, sales opportunity, partner conversation or internal conversation, you have to bring in the people component. Any relationship starts with trust.