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Category winner: Satya Nadella at Microsoft: Instilling a Growth Mindset

This case was the Overall Winner at The Case Centre Awards and Competitions 2020. #CaseAwards2020

Presentation of the trophy for the Overall Winner 2020

Celebrating the win

Unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we were unable to present the authors in person with their trophies for being the Overall Winners in 2020.

Even though we couldn't make it to the authors, their trophies have started to!

We are delighted to celebrate Herminia, Aneeta and Anna's win by sharing this picture of Herminia and her award - congratulations!

Discover more about the winning case below.

Find out more about the Case Awards here.

The case

Satya NadellaWho – the protagonist

Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO.


Microsoft is an America multinational technology company, and the main rival to Apple.

Microsoft logoWhy?

When Satya became CEO, Microsoft was regarded as a Windows-centric lumbering giant.

Under Satya’s stewardship he transformed the company to a $700 billion market cap tech player, as they ventured into artificial intelligence and cloud computing. 


Satya joined Microsoft in 2014. Four years later and the American giant had returned to its former glories.

PC showing Microsoft operating systemWhere?

Microsoft is based in Redmond, Washington.

Key quote

“People often ask how it’s going. My response is very eastern: We’re making great progress, but we should never be done.” – Satya Nadella.

What next?

Satya had successfully shifted the attitude from a ‘know-it-all’ one to a ‘learn-it-all’ curiosity. Satya, however, knew that the journey had only just started.

Interested in finding out more?


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Satya Nadella at Microsoft: Instilling a Growth Mindset
Ref 418-0080-1

Teaching note
Ref 418-0080-8

The authors

Herminia Ibarra, Aneeta Rattan and Anna Johnston

Herminia Ibarra, Aneeta Rattan and Anna Johnston

Herminia, Aneeta and Anna speak about growth mindset cases, and why their case is so popular.

Proud moment

On winning Anna said: "It’s a proud moment for all of us, and I personally hope that the case continues to have an impact on managers and leaders of all levels. As a leader of an international, virtual team right now, I’m certainly instilling a growth mindset across my team and organisation."

Value of a growth mindset

Heads with thoughts coming outAneeta commented: “We believed that a case teaching the growth mindset, and how it can be applied in organisations to transform culture, could be transformative to many individuals and organisations. Receiving this award shows that our intuition was right – it confirms the value that the concept of the growth mindset, and its effective application at Microsoft, can have for the business world.”

Reasons for popularity

Herminia said: “I think the case has been so popular for four reasons. Firstly, Microsoft has been such a success story over the past five years, reaching the number 1 spot as most the valuable company several times – everyone wants to learn how they did it.

"Secondly, it's a timeless story. A great company lost its way, becoming complacent in the wake of it’s historical success, and a new leader came in to transform it for the new era.

"Thirdly, there's an inspirational protagonist. Satya Nadella is a great example of the kind of leadership we all talk about but rarely see.

"And fourthly, there's a clear connection to important academic topics and research, in this case work on growth mindset, learning organizations, and change processes.”

Working as a team

Network of people

Herminia commented: “It made a big difference writing this case with my co-author Aneeta Rattan, as she is an expert on how mindsets shape the feelings and behaviour of people in organisations.”

Working together as a team was also a highlight for Aneeta: "The biggest highlight of writing this case for me was working with Herminia. She mentored me, as a first-time case writer to understand everything from how to do the interviews and collect evidence, to the structure and style of case writing."

Both Herminia and Aneeta agreed: "Working with a great writer like Anna made a huge difference – the case would not be so enjoyable to read without her."

About the authors

Herminia Ibarra is the Charles Handy Professor of Organisational Behaviour at London Business School.
e hibarra@london.edu
tw @HerminiaIbarra

Aneeta Rattan is Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour at London Business School.
e arattan@london.edu
tw @AneetaRattan

Anna Johnston was a writer at London Business School when the winning case was written. She is now Brand Content Lead at Nexford University, and a freelance writer.
e ajohnston@nexford.org
tw @manvellwriting


View all the 2020 winners