In 2014, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke at the Grace Hopper Celebration, telling female technicians that they did not need to ask for raises, and that their companies would reward them appropriately. Considering how often women are overlooked for raises and promotions, the women in the audience were not too pleased with Satya’s comment. Recognizing his mistake, Satya issued an apology the next day.
Rather than put this moment behind him, Satya used it as a learning experience to move forward. He became committed to fighting his own unconscious biases along with unconscious biases within Microsoft. The company updated its internal messaging to focus on the importance of diversity, empathy towards others, and learning from mistakes. Satya has since generated more than $250 billion in market value in the last three and a half years, and credits Microsoft’s success to this culture shift.