Just when I think Microsoft just doesn’t get it (and never
will – ed.) comes something that stops me in my tracks. Recently,
posted two MS internal communications. Taken together, they
write a road map for MS for maybe the next five years. It appears
management has a clear idea of where they want to go. But can
they get their organization to change directions quickly enough?
That will be the multi-part challenge.
Multi-part because everyone, from the night janitor up to top
management, must first understand the need for and accept the
urgency/personal responsibility to implement forward looking
change. To do this, management must answer the question: “What’s
in it for me?” In other words, management must make the case to
employees that change will result in rewards for those who
Once people understand the need for change, they must then
learn how to do something differently. Even if they have been
doing it a certain way for many years. Even if what they have
been during “worked” well in the past, each person must learn to
do it differently. For many, this will not be easy.
In the end, in any organization, change is difficult – even
when there is a clear case that the change is advantageous to
everyone. Yet, MS has shown that it can effect major change. Do
it rapidly. And lead the market to where it wants to go.
Do not bet that it can’t do so now.
[One example of the direction MS seems to be headed is
reflected in the MSDN
Express Editions site that went live on Monday. Here, MS is
providing free (as in beer) editions of Web Developer Express,
SQL Server Express, Visual Basic Express, Visual C# Express,
Visual C++ Express, and visual J# Express. However, as an example
of how they still don’t get it, you have to register to get a key
to activate the software. Registration gives you the opportunity
to receive email from MS and their partners (also known as spam,
which MS says you can opt out of). Nobody said forward looking
change would be easy.]