Persuasive people don’t argue — they listen

Take note of your inner monologue! It’ll shape your whole day.

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3 min readFeb 15, 2024

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Success can be paralyzing. A few years ago I was having dinner with a friend who’s a successful author, and she said her trick to staying productive was to immediately start writing a new book after finishing one — especially if she was proud of the one she’d finished. It reminds me of this Steve Jobs quote: “If you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.” It’s good advice for both people and organizations.

Related to that: I recently discovered these five lessons on leadership from Dare Obasanjo, former engineer and product manager at Microsoft. Obasanjo worked at Microsoft from 2002–2019 and witnessed a radical turnaround when Satya Nadella succeeded Steve Ballmer as CEO in 2014.

Nadella’s main focus was transforming Microsoft’s culture from one that dwelled on its historic successes (like uh, a little thing called Windows) to one that asked everyone to embrace a growth mindset (i.e., to view themselves as beginners). Obasanjo writes, “We were to be a company of learn-it-alls not know-it-alls. People were expected to be curious, embrace change and try new things.” As a result, Microsoft’s valuation increased 10x under Nadella’s leadership.

What I appreciate about this post is that it contains the kind of detail you’d only get from someone working inside the company at the time. For example, I love this picture of one of the “growth mindset vs. fixed mindset” posters Nadella put in every conference room. It’s proof that changing your mindset requires constant nudging:

Credit: Dare Obasanjo

What else we’re reading

From the archive

U.S. Army veteran and gun owner Benjamin Sledge shares an honest, first-hand perspective on what the military gets right about gun control and what society gets wrong. Last year in the U.S., there were 656 mass shootings (more mass shootings than days of the year). Yesterday, at least one person was killed and 22 were wounded at a shooting in Kansas City. We all know something has to change. Sledge writes: “If we want to impart common sense gun laws and not let our emotions or misinformation dictate the outcome, perhaps we should follow the same lead as the military” and require training and orientation for every gun owner, in addition to allocating more resources for mental health and background checks.

Your daily dose of practical wisdom

Change starts with identifying, and challenging, the voices in your head.

Written by Harris Sockel
Edited and produced by
Scott Lamb & Carly Rose Gillis

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