Enhance yourself and make your company better: 5 great lessons from Chris Capossela

Microsoft Global CMO Chris Capossela, meets with Full Time MBA students for the Leadership Series.


An entire career at Microsoft, condensed into a few simple tips, with the hope that this talk will help the new generations achieve excellence and their own professional goals: this is what the lucky class 48 of the Full-Time MBA program witnessed meeting Chris Capossela, Global CMO of Microsoft, during the first edition of the Leadership Series. A series of meetings hosted by great managers and leaders who, thanks to their vision and experience, project major market players towards a successful future.

"Progress is important, but the key thing is to compare with the competition". In this concept is condensed the first piece of advice Capossela wanted to give to the audience. "Microsoft has grown exponentially over the past 10 years, revenues have skyrocketed, but the measure of success is not just that," Capossela wanted to point out. Because the most important thing is "the evaluation of your result compared to the market, to the competitors." Valuable advice aimed one the one hand at keeping the focus on oneself (or one's company) and on improving performance, but also without forgetting that the measure of true success is seen by comparing one's results against those of the market.

Another key issue is related to labor relations. "Appreciate the superpowers of your colleagues, your peers" because "everyone knows how important it is to relate to the best vertically in a company, but the real breakthrough is being able to appreciate and leverage the work that you are not able to do. The success of your company comes in the moment when everyone does everything they can to make their colleagues, successful workers".

"Model, coach and care" these are the watchwords for being good leaders, according to Capossela. "Model your behaviors and those of your colleagues on the values of the company, teach people what is required of them, but above all care for everything and everyone." In this vein, Capossela also recounted how the increased focus on caring, has helped Microsoft in achieving today's successes.

Flexibility was also part of Capossela's advice: as a manager he finds it vital that "you use the tools you have at the most appropriate time. Every meeting and every problem you encounter will be different from each other. Do not use the same tools or approaches for everything"; with a metaphor: "know how to play the correct instrument depending on the orchestra you are in. Knowing at all times what is the correct instrument to play is the real game changer."

"Be curious always and be a student of the world," was the last piece of advice the Microsoft manager wanted to leave with the trainees, before ending the lecture with a stimulating Q&A moment. "Because this will force you to think and be better for your company. In this way you will help shape value systems and -cultures- that will help your company grow."

SDA Bocconi School of Management

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