Missed big HR meeting (MyMicrosoft is now improved)

Wow. I missed a HUGE HR townhall, er, employee meeting today (they announced new compensation and review changes). I just got the email from Lisa Brummel and, wow, wow, wow.

Is Lisa reading Mini? Damn straight she is.

This is the "Mini-smackdown" I wanted to see. Hopefully these changes will get us on a more customer-centric path.

One big thing that's gone? Stack ranking. No longer am I judged against Charles and Adam and Tina and Jeff. Now, either I'm doing a good job for Microsoft or I'm not and my review will now reflect that.

I LOVE these changes!

Also, I love the transparency that the Office team is experimenting with (you can see the Office team's ranking, and guess pretty closely what salary each employee there is making).

One thing I love about Microsoft is that we are willing to play with the business and make improvements. For a big business these kinds of changes aren't made easily, nor often, and I appreciate when they happen and the amount of work that goes into making them happen (I know someone in IT for HR, for instance, and he told me about all the work that's going on behind the scenes to change the review system).

Oh, and thanks Mini! These changes are due in no small part to you. Even if you don't get official props in the press releases.

Can one person change a huge company? Mini did. And we don't even know his name.

But, don't miss the work that Steve Ballmer, the leadership team, and Lisa Brummel did here either. Wonderful. Cheers. Now, let's get back to work figuring out how to make our customers lives better.

Lisa announced MyMicrosoft, a series of initiatives that'll make Microsoft a much better place to work.

There's a lot more to what she announced than I'm talking about here, but as I read over the list I'm just astounded.

These are not small little tweaks. They are wholesale changes to how Microsoft treats its employees.

Well, I'm off for a three hour drive from Livingston to Billings. I'll link to more on this topic later (I don't see anyone talking about this stuff externally yet).

By the way, my cell phone isn't working. So, stick with email until tomorrow.

80 thoughts on “Missed big HR meeting (MyMicrosoft is now improved)

  1. “But, don’t miss the work that Steve Ballmer, the leadership team, and Lisa Brummel did here either.[...] Now, let’s get back to work figuring out how to make our customers lives better.”

    Steve Ballmer did what? Precisely what?

    Judging from various issues with Microsoft software I never knew existed until I had to look after a MS Windows 98 network, which later metamorphosed into a Windows XP network, “making our customers’ lives better” wasn’t high on the priority list.

    And all this talk about “firing Ballmer” reminds me of a joke I once heard about some industrialists visiting a factory in an authoritarian nation. They asked the interpreter about productivity figures, employment issues, and soforth. One of them asked, “What happens if an employee is consistently late, works at a substandard level, and shows no interest in his work?” The interpreter said, “He would be shot.” The industrialists exchanged shocked glances, but the tour had to continue. Half an hour later, after they had finished and were heading for their taxis, the interpreter hurried up to them. “I just had a look at the bilingual dictionary, and the word I should have used is ‘fired’, in relation to unsatisfactory employees – not ‘shot’!”

    As Terry Pratchett has said, “Give a man a match, and he’ll be warm for a moment; set him alight and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life!”

  2. “But, don’t miss the work that Steve Ballmer, the leadership team, and Lisa Brummel did here either.[...] Now, let’s get back to work figuring out how to make our customers lives better.”

    Steve Ballmer did what? Precisely what?

    Judging from various issues with Microsoft software I never knew existed until I had to look after a MS Windows 98 network, which later metamorphosed into a Windows XP network, “making our customers’ lives better” wasn’t high on the priority list.

    And all this talk about “firing Ballmer” reminds me of a joke I once heard about some industrialists visiting a factory in an authoritarian nation. They asked the interpreter about productivity figures, employment issues, and soforth. One of them asked, “What happens if an employee is consistently late, works at a substandard level, and shows no interest in his work?” The interpreter said, “He would be shot.” The industrialists exchanged shocked glances, but the tour had to continue. Half an hour later, after they had finished and were heading for their taxis, the interpreter hurried up to them. “I just had a look at the bilingual dictionary, and the word I should have used is ‘fired’, in relation to unsatisfactory employees – not ‘shot’!”

    As Terry Pratchett has said, “Give a man a match, and he’ll be warm for a moment; set him alight and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life!”

  3. Goebbels: a book has to pick and choose who to write about. It isn’t unlimited in its scope. We interviewed 188 businesses about how they were using blogging. Obviously there are more than 188 businesses blogging and there were about 30 million blogs at the time of writing the book.

    Yes, we picked the most interesting and influential businesses we could when we wrote the book. Mini wasn’t a business blog, anyway, he just affected business, and he didn’t do so until the past six months. (Our book was, for the most part, finished nine months ago).

  4. Goebbels: a book has to pick and choose who to write about. It isn’t unlimited in its scope. We interviewed 188 businesses about how they were using blogging. Obviously there are more than 188 businesses blogging and there were about 30 million blogs at the time of writing the book.

    Yes, we picked the most interesting and influential businesses we could when we wrote the book. Mini wasn’t a business blog, anyway, he just affected business, and he didn’t do so until the past six months. (Our book was, for the most part, finished nine months ago).

  5. “Now, let’s get back to work figuring out how to make our customers lives better.”

    Could you start by having a word with the Anti-Piracy marketing team? Ask them to stop send customers rocks in the mail.

  6. “Now, let’s get back to work figuring out how to make our customers lives better.”

    Could you start by having a word with the Anti-Piracy marketing team? Ask them to stop send customers rocks in the mail.

  7. “He wasn’t even influential enough when we wrote our book to get noticed.”

    What arrogance and idiocy! Are you claiming that anyone not mentioned in your book isn’t influential? That if you aren’t aware of someone they aren’t influential?

  8. “He wasn’t even influential enough when we wrote our book to get noticed.”

    What arrogance and idiocy! Are you claiming that anyone not mentioned in your book isn’t influential? That if you aren’t aware of someone they aren’t influential?

  9. @31. Actually, no it wasn’t one voice at MS if you believe the comments on mini’s blog were also fellow MS employees that felt the same way. I have to believe each one of those commenters from within MS also had managers that supposedly subscribed to this mythical “open door policy”. Are you telling me that MS has no method to capture internal feedback and take it up through the ranks. I know they do a yearly “survey”. Surely these opinions had to be coming through via this survey. Moreover, are you telling me that if MS management has an
    “open door” policy that there wouldn’t be consistent feedback coming from various groups within MS that were hearing the same things? The only thing this suggests is that MS middle management is incapable of effecuating change, an open door policy does not exist and that MS acted out of fear rather than compassion. Again, to believe that mini was the impetus for this change shows MS has more management problems than anyone could imagine. And is more indication that Ballmer and his team is completely out of touch.

    If all it takes blogging by disgruntled employees for companies to make changes, then those currently enrolled in any undergraduate or post-graduate organizational behavior major are wasting their money on anything they are being taught, and anyone that graduated in the field of organizational behavior should ask for their money back.

  10. @31. Actually, no it wasn’t one voice at MS if you believe the comments on mini’s blog were also fellow MS employees that felt the same way. I have to believe each one of those commenters from within MS also had managers that supposedly subscribed to this mythical “open door policy”. Are you telling me that MS has no method to capture internal feedback and take it up through the ranks. I know they do a yearly “survey”. Surely these opinions had to be coming through via this survey. Moreover, are you telling me that if MS management has an
    “open door” policy that there wouldn’t be consistent feedback coming from various groups within MS that were hearing the same things? The only thing this suggests is that MS middle management is incapable of effecuating change, an open door policy does not exist and that MS acted out of fear rather than compassion. Again, to believe that mini was the impetus for this change shows MS has more management problems than anyone could imagine. And is more indication that Ballmer and his team is completely out of touch.

    If all it takes blogging by disgruntled employees for companies to make changes, then those currently enrolled in any undergraduate or post-graduate organizational behavior major are wasting their money on anything they are being taught, and anyone that graduated in the field of organizational behavior should ask for their money back.

  11. dmad: one voice changing an organization of 60,000? Possible, but highly unlikely.

    But add that voice to public pressure and add in other voices where everyone can watch? And change happens much quicker.

  12. dmad: one voice changing an organization of 60,000? Possible, but highly unlikely.

    But add that voice to public pressure and add in other voices where everyone can watch? And change happens much quicker.

  13. @25. Still doesn’t address why he wasn’t able to effectuate change through the proper internal channels. I’d always been told Microsoft has an “open door policy”. So, the question remains… why did he have to rant externaly in order to supposedly be heard? Speaks volumes about MS management and the creedence they placed in the past in their employee polling. So maybe the former VP of HR couldnt’ keep it in his pants… doesn’t (the things you can find out about public officers) but does that mean the buck stopped there? If so, more reason to fire Ballmer.

  14. @25. Still doesn’t address why he wasn’t able to effectuate change through the proper internal channels. I’d always been told Microsoft has an “open door policy”. So, the question remains… why did he have to rant externaly in order to supposedly be heard? Speaks volumes about MS management and the creedence they placed in the past in their employee polling. So maybe the former VP of HR couldnt’ keep it in his pants… doesn’t (the things you can find out about public officers) but does that mean the buck stopped there? If so, more reason to fire Ballmer.

  15. Three hours from Livingston to Billings? You must drive slowly.

    I didn’t know they took the towels away but now that they’re back that changes everything.

    And LisaB is pure genius. To think she figured out it was all about the towels after only a *one year* “listening tour”. And I bet three months of that year was spent brainstorming the “My Microsoft” name. Give Lisa a 5.0, er… whatever it’s called now. Oh, I momentarily forgot the execs don’t have to go through that awful, nasty, icky review process anyway.

    MSFT down $0.27 to $22.56. It just doesn’t get any better than this folks.

  16. Three hours from Livingston to Billings? You must drive slowly.

    I didn’t know they took the towels away but now that they’re back that changes everything.

    And LisaB is pure genius. To think she figured out it was all about the towels after only a *one year* “listening tour”. And I bet three months of that year was spent brainstorming the “My Microsoft” name. Give Lisa a 5.0, er… whatever it’s called now. Oh, I momentarily forgot the execs don’t have to go through that awful, nasty, icky review process anyway.

    MSFT down $0.27 to $22.56. It just doesn’t get any better than this folks.

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