How Microsoft's Satya Nadella initiated a culture shift to trust using Connective Communication

Satya Nadella is well known as the CEO that successfully ‘Hit Refresh’ with company MIcrosoft. He ended up writing a book about it by the same name.

When Satya become CEO of Microsoft in 2014, he inherited a company whose culture was known for hostility, fighting and backstabbing among its top executives.

To turn the company around, he made the members of his senior leadership team read the 2003 book “Nonviolent Communication” by the psychologist Marshall B. Rosenberg. Nadella handed out copies at his first executive meeting.

It was a sign Nadella planned to run Microsoft differently from his predecessor, Steve Ballmer.

In “Nonviolent Communication,” Rosenberg preaches 4 steps to de-escalate difficult communications and connect on the level of common humanity basic needs such as feeling heard, respected, appreciated, autonomous, safe, connected that are not being met in the difficult communication.

Non Violent Communication uses 4 Steps to go through. At Mindfulbizz we use these steps, adding 1 step  to help teams practice interactive mindfulness and build the trust container together.

  1. Observe: using  the 5 senses to objectively gather input
  2. Separate Interpretation from Observation: getting clarity on your Minds conditioned judgements
  3. State Feelings that arise from Observations
  4. Tune into your underlying unmet human need in the interaction
  5. Request what you wanted from the interaction based on that unmet need

AS Rosenberg in his work on NVC also shows, our ‘added’ step 2 is an essential step because our observations are often clouded by our judgments and evaluations.

This is where Attention training is key: to build a stable level of attention and start to see through one’s ‘lens’ or perspective on the world and notice it as just that: one perspective: built from a set of past experiences conditioning us to see future similar looking situations as the same.

Another challenge is recognizing our feelings and unmet needs. It takes slowing down and training to feel into this. Humans being so used to reacting immediately to get rid of uncomfortable feelings without stopping to notice what those feelings are and how something is rushed over. Like the deep desire to be heard, valued, or respected that is ‘crushed’ unintentionally by another asking critical questions. Mindfulness trains us to be in the moment and acknowledge feelings that arise, without fixing them immediately

Read more:

#attention training

#self awareness


#emotional intelligence

#manage conflict

#shift from fear to trust

#common humanity


# us vs. them

#experience deep connection





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