Company executives across all industries can learn a lot from team sports.
That was the message from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who joined us on stage at the GeekWire Summit in Seattle on Tuesday.
GeekWire Editor Todd Bishop kicked off the fireside chat with a gift for Nadella, handing him a new Kookaburra cricket ball. Nadella, who took over as CEO in 2014, writes about cricket in his new book Hit Refresh, detailing his passion for a game that has taught him a lot about leadership and much more.
In the book, Nadella reveals that he likes to hold a cricket ball during conference calls.
“One thing people found out from the book is that I love cricket — so I have a lot of Kookaburra balls now,” Nadella said. “But I really appreciate it.”
The CEO, who recently visited a Seattle Seahawks practice and met with head coach Pete Carroll, talked about the value of team sports — “they grab you and teach you so many lessons,” he noted.
Nadella recounted a story from a particular cricket match when he was “bowling trash” — so poorly that his captain took him out of the game.
But minutes later, the captain gave Nadella the ball back and told him to get back in the match. It’s a moment that has stuck with him to this day.
“Why did he do that?” Nadella explained. “He could have just broken all my confidence and thrown me off the team, but for some reason, he decided to give me the ball back. That ability, that sensibility of what leaders can do to bring teams along to do their best work — that’s what we can learn from team sport.”
Nadella also just did a long interview with ESPN about his passion for cricket and the impact of technology on the sport.
More from the GeekWire Summit:
- How Microsoft’s Satya Nadella got Wall Street to look past its cloud battle with Amazon Web Services
- Microsoft HQ2? ‘We are very, very happy where we are,’ says CEO Satya Nadella
- What Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella learned from Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer about being a leader
- After struggling with ‘Why us?’ Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella credits son with shaping who he is