One of my friends asked if I had read Jean-Louis Gassee’s post in response to Satya Nadella’s 3,100 word e-mail to employees.
Satya Nadella’s latest message to the troops – and to the world – is disquieting. It lacks focus, specifics, and, if not soon sharpened, his words will worry employees, developers, customers, and even shareholders.
Whatever is well conceived is clearly said,
And the words to say it flow with ease.
Clarity and ease are sorely missing from Satya Nadella’s 3,100 plodding words, which were supposed to paint a clear, motivating future for 127,000 Microsoftians anxious to know where the new boss is leading them.
Now what is a bit ironic is Gassee says brevity is advised. But, don’t you think Jean-Louis could have made his point in 300 words?
One of the most interesting points is Gassee analyzing explanations for the e-mail.
Two possible explanations come to mind.
First, because he’s intelligent and literate, he forgot to use an unforgiving editor. ‘Chief, you really want to email that?’ Or, if he used an editor, he was victimized by a sycophantic one. ‘Satya, you nailed it!’
Second, and more likely, Nadella speaks in code. He’s making cryptic statements that are meant to prepare the troops for painful changes. Seemingly bland, obligatory statements about the future will decrypt into wrenching decisions:
“Organizations will change. Mergers and acquisitions will occur. Job responsibilities will evolve. New partnerships will be formed. Tired traditions will be questioned. Our priorities will be adjusted. New skills will be built. New ideas will be heard. New hires will be made. Processes will be simplified. And if you want to thrive at Microsoft and make a world impact, you and your team must add numerous more changes to this list that you will be enthusiastic about driving.”
In plainer English: Shape up or ship out.
Tortured statements from CEOs, politicians, coworkers, spouses, or suppliers, in no hierarchical order, mean one thing: I have something to hide, but I want to be able to say I told you the facts.
Now, Gassse does include a 200 word version of what Satya’s e-mail says.
BTW, I ran a word count on this post and it is less than 400, but most of the words are what Gassee said, not mine. :-)