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3 Emails That Teach Powerful Leadership Lessons

Great leaders set the example. And when it comes to being CEO of a major, world-renowned corporation, it had better be a really great example. In an article for Inc., Justin Bariso examines impactful corporate emails written by the leaders of Microsoft, Starbucks, and Amazon that perfectly set the example for how other leaders should operate within their companies.

Examples of Examples

Do you remember Microsoft’s Tay from last year? Tay was a bot on Twitter designed to interact with users and learn from them. Unfortunately, since Twitter is a cesspool and the Internet is an ocean of depravity, Tay quickly learned how to go on racist tirades and had to be shut down almost immediately. However, CEO Satya Nadella emailed the team responsible for Tay, saying, “Keep pushing, and know that I am with you … (The) key is to keep learning and improving.” Nadella made it clear that how Tay behaved was not acceptable, but that the team—and Microsoft as a whole—had his blessing to keep pushing forward with daring experiments. Worthwhile experiments are not grounds for punishment.

Next, you may or may not remember a significant stock market decline in Asian markets in 2015. This prompted Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to send an email to all of his employees to be mindful of the myriad stresses in the world. He asked employees to remember that customers are all carrying burdens and it is within Starbucks’ employees power to deliver exceptional service to make people’s day a little better. Culture is part of what makes Starbucks a success, and with this email, that point is further emphasized.

Lastly, again in 2015, the New York Times published an article about Amazon being a brutal employer that cared little for its employees. Here is how Bariso describes CEO Jeff Bezos’s response:

I’m sure Bezos felt the criticism was unduly biased. (“I don’t recognize this Amazon, and I very much hope you don’t either,” Bezos told employees.) But through an internal memo, Amazon’s chief nevertheless encouraged his people to read the Times piece, and to “escalate to HR” any stories they knew of like those reported–even inviting individuals to email him directly. (Interestingly, Amazon later revealed significant changes to the way it would assess employees moving forward.)

Thus, a real problem was resituated into a learning opportunity.

What kind of example are you setting with your leadership? You can view the original article here: https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/these-3-emails-from-the-ceos-of-starbucks-microsoft-and-amazon-teach-extraordi.html

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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