PRINCIPLES: S – Scaling through others

As many of our companies and organizations take the precautionary steps to protect individual safety and public health in light of the COVID-19, and as Microsoft has requested its employees to work from home if able, many of us are needing to realign, reconnect, and re-engage with one another to stay on track of our business goals. There’s an importance to collaboration and positioning ourselves, teams, and colleagues to stay cognizant of growth and keep our eyes on the future.


At Microsoft, we’re already talking about goals and ambitions for FY21. It reminds of the reality that we can’t accomplish all the work we need to get done on our own. It takes a collective effort, which means empowering others to take the lead, so we can all move forward. Over the years, I have found that one of the most important tools in my toolbox is scaling through others.

Collective efforts make all the difference

Scaling through others is all about giving your ideas away and letting other people take them, formulate them, and make them great. When others are eager about a project—when you have an aligned vision on the outcome, and a joint plan for success—they will drive forward and help you deliver. The beautiful thing is, when they cross the finish line, it’s THEIR success. And when they’re successful, you’re successful. Think about it: if you can set 10 people up for success, then you are 10 times more productive!

Learning to scale through others is the first step in leadership and management. When you can empower others to take the lead, by definition, you become a leader. You are helping other people create a vision and drive their own success.

Scaling for Microsoft Partners

There are many examples of scaling through others across my team at Microsoft, which manages our global ecosystem of partner organizations. One specific example is the job of our Partner Development Managers (PDMs). They must scale effectively with their teams in order to create success.

The priority of our PDM is to make our partners successful. But in order to do that, the expectation can’t just fall on the PDM. They form relationships across the company with our Partner Technical Specialists (PTS), Cloud Solution Architects (CSA), Partner Marketing Advisors, and others to tackle the partners’ business and deliver results. The PDM has to create a joint vision of success with Microsoft’s technical teams and the partner organization.  And by scaling through others, everyone is aligned and has a clear path to success.

Collaboration to scale

The key to scaling through others is finding success for everyone. It’s not about getting people to help you get something done.  It’s about envisioning success for others and empowering them to drive toward their own success.  When they cross the finish line victorious, everyone wins.

Have a great week everyone!

If you’re reading on mobile, swipe your screen left to view more of the PRINCIPLES I’ve covered the past few weeks!

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Tuesday Thoughts

Respect yourself. If you don’t, how can anyone else?

Aside from love, respect may be the thing people want most from others. Respect is directly tied to our self-confidence and, in many ways, how we see ourselves in the world. When people respect our judgement, our beliefs and our abilities, our self-esteem gets a boost. We feel more confident and proud of who we are and what our purpose is. That’s important. But in some ways, I have found in my life the order is reversed. If we want the respect of others, we first have to love and respect ourselves.

Earning self-respect can be just as difficult as earning the respect of others. First, you need to love who you are. We beat ourselves up a lot. But we need to tune-out the negative voice in our head. Instead of focusing on our flaws (which we all have), zone-in on the positives—our unique abilities and experiences that make us special. I encourage you to explore your own special abilities by writing a list of 5 things you do well. I guarantee there will be things on your list that others around you don’t do as well.

Another important factor in building self-respect is believing in our ability to succeed.  We all stumble and make mistakes. In fact, that’s part of the journey of success. What really matters is how you respond to the mistake. When we fail fast and rebound, we grow`.

FAIL: First Attempt In Learning

When we love and respect ourselves, people are more likely to respect us. But we still have to earn the respect of others. How?  Through honesty, integrity, and mutual respect. Do what you say you’re going to do. Be accountable and hold others accountable. Respect is a two-way street. Recognize other people’s beliefs and abilities and they will hopefully do the same.

Have a great week everyone!

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PRINCIPLES – Plan for Presence

Alright, so I have a bit of an embarrassing story for you all, to start the week…

Recently, I was on my way into work and stopped to get a coffee. It’s my morning routine, so I was on autopilot—deep in thought about my daily meetings and a big keynote presentation I had coming up. I ordered my coffee at the drive thru, pulled up to the window, paid for my drink, then continued my commute to work. It wasn’t until about ten minutes later I noticed something was wrong. I didn’t have my coffee! I had driven off without it. How embarrassing. All I could do was shrug it off and laugh. I was definitely not “present” that morning.

The greatest present is presence

Being present every moment of our daily lives is difficult. And even though I’m obviously not a pro at it, it’s a principle I try to live by because I’ve seen it have a huge impact on my conversations and relationships.

Presence is about living in the moment, listening intently, and not letting your brain slip back into all the things we have going on in the background. It’s not always easy, but one mindful approach we can take is to actually listen to every word when someone is talking to you—hearing what they’re saying, instead of thinking about what we’re going to say back.

I think about it like this—someone is taking time out of their day to share something with me.  I need to honor that moment by being present. 

I don’t know if this happens to you, but my kids can tell immediately when I’ve slipped out of presence, and they have no problem calling-me on it. ”Mom, PAY ATTENTION!” Oftentimes, we don’t even realize when we drift out of a conversation, which is why it takes practice to have presence.

Ditch the urge to multi-task

Here’s the thing—and some of you may disagree with me on this—there’s no such thing as being a “great multi-tasker.” Research shows our brains can only concentrate fully on one thing at a time. If you’re working on emails in a meeting (which we’ve ALL done), you aren’t paying attention to what’s going on in the room. You think you are, but you aren’t.

You may hear a few key points, but you’re not fully listening or absorbing the information being shared. In fact, one of my favorite studies about this showed that having our cell phones on the table, even with notifications turned off, is a distraction that limits our concentration. That’s why my leadership team at Microsoft has adopted a “Laptop Down/Stay Engaged” policy for meetings. It makes a real difference. We accomplish much more when everyone is ready to focus on objectives.

The practice of presence

Make no mistake, being “present” all day takes a lot of energy, and I know many of you have a lot on your plates (who doesn’t?).  So, we have to be intentional about making space for ourselves/ I try to build solitary work time into my daily schedule every day. It’s a chance for me to take a mental break and focus on what I need to get done. Even though I’m still working, it’s a different kind of energy that allows me to rest my mind so that I’m ready to be present for my next conversation or meeting.

We all have a tremendous amount of things going on in our brains. When things get busy, being present can slip down the list of priorities. But I encourage you to try your best to always focus on what’s happening in the moment. I guarantee it will boost your productivity, improve your meetings, and strengthen your relationships. Plus, when you’re present and engaged, you won’t forget your coffee!

Have a great week everyone!

If you’re reading on mobile, swipe your screen left to view more of the PRINCIPLES I’ve covered the past few weeks! 


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