I’ve been reading a bit about the CEO transition at Microsoft, which seems to be as much about Bill Gates’s return as Satya Nadella’s ascent.
This quote from a Quartz article is particularly striking:
[Gates] was famous for his “think weeks” when active at Microsoft. He would retreat to a waterfront cottage to spend a week in isolation, read papers from throughout the organization, and contemplate the future. A 2005 Wall Street Journal piece (paywall) on the process described how a week’s deliberation and the resulting emails would rapidly ripple through the company, shift entire divisions, and boost both teams and managers.
My alma mater has recently completed a strategic plan; the results of that process have just been published. Friends within the university believe that this is a waste of limited funds - the planning process came in at over twice its $1.45 million budget.
I am reserving judgment until I’ve had a chance to look at the plan, because it can be a valuable exercise when done right. However, the two stories resonated for me because Gates seems like the kind of leader who can withdraw for a week, study, reflect, and generate a successful strategic plan all on his own. Microsoft will benefit from his renewed attention.