As the name suggests, the book 12 Simple Secrets of Microsoft Management, talks about how Microsoft is different from another run of the mill companies. The 12 things being:
- Even without having a written Mission statement, everyone has the same understanding of what the company is trying to achieve. Which in this case is ‘ Total World Domination’.
- Hire the best, in this case only the top 5% to be hired. Now how can everyone hire the top 5% is not understandable. And what would happen to the rest 95%, they also need to work?
- Bet the company, meaning you should have the courage to destroy what you created. And define a new paradigm.
- Require Failure i.e. look at failure as a necessary part of the job. And not rate people on the basis of only their success rate.
- Managers are qualified to lead the people in their teams, or they should know the work that each of their team members is doing. I think this comes from the fact that Bill is the master programmer and still sit and code or improve the code written by Microsoft engineers.
- Perform, Perform, Perform: I think this is the most ruthless thing that an organization can do. You have to perform constantly, consistently every single day and each day you have to be better than the previous day. I think this is a sheer violation of basic human rights, either at Microsoft or any other place. The irony being the people who are subjected to this actually take pride in the same thing. You would often hear people telling you how they have been living out of their office.
- Do not spend, unless it is an absolute necessity. The chapter claims that Bill travels economy or coach. I have heard this for other billionaire executives as well with huge reserves, but the question that crops up in my mind is, “Company or the people, who is more important?’
- Be a small company internally, however big you may become according to external parameters.
- Bill controls everything, it’s his company and there are people who have left the company for this reason. This is again something I have seen repeated in companies that have tried to model themselves on Microsoft.
- Ensure the enthusiastic environment in the company where everyone feels like working.
- Don’t have insane policies like formal dress code when your business does not need it. Basically, don’t try to put off employee creativity by making him do stupid things just to follow a process.
- Give the environment as close to home as possible to your employees. Now, this is something that I don’t mind.
The author of 12 Simple Secrets of Microsoft Management, does repeat his disclaimers that he is not saying these are best ways for any organization, these are just the way Microsoft differentiates itself from other companies. To me it looks like, wherever he says this, he means I do not agree with this part of it.