Satya Nadella joined Microsoft as a 22-year-old, with no ambition of becoming CEO. But he had clarity of thought and the right attitude, which set him up for success.
In an interview with LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky, Nadella said he always genuinely believed the job he had at hand was the most important.
“There was never a time where I thought the job I was doing, all through my 30 years of Microsoft, that somehow I was doing that as a way to some other job,” Nadella told Roslansky.
Nadella said becoming the CEO "wasn't even a thought" when he was working at Microsoft. He gave his best at whatever role he had.
“Don’t wait for your next job to do your best work," Nadella said, when asked about his most important learning in his 30 years at Microsoft. "You cannot grow if you don't think your growth comes because of what you're doing.”
That attitude worked for Nadella. He steadily climbed the corporate ladder for 22 years, and in 2014, become Microsoft's third CEO.
Now, that he is in a leadership role, Nadella acknowledges that it is a privilege, which he tries to earn it every day.
“It's not like the day before I was CEO somebody said, ‘You're gonna be CEO.’ At some point things happen. You are the CEO and the question is, have you prepared all your life to be there?” Nadella said.
For Nadella, the learning has never stopped. Thanks to this growth mindset, he picked up well rounded skills and learnt how to be an emphatic leader, while also adapting to fast-changing market conditions.
Also read: Satya Nadella on growing up middle-class in India. Watch interview with LinkedIn CEO