What does it mean to belong to an organization, to a team, to your colleagues?
For JP’s latest #PositiveLeadership podcast guest, Amy Hood, belonging is a purpose in itself. Because when you feel like you belong, you feel brave enough to be yourself and do great things.
In this episode, Amy focuses on her own personal leadership journey to becoming chief financial officer at Microsoft, how she learned to think like a leader, and ground herself to create bravery and positive energy in others.
Listen to the conversation now and don’t forget to subscribe.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: I’m Jean-Phillippe Courtoios, JP. This is Positive Leadership, the podcast that helps you grow as in individual, a leader, and ultimately as a global citizen.
AMY HOOD: It’s about the real job. Which is to explain to the best of my ability the decisions we’re making and to provide that clarity to the people who have bet on us. The things you’re really about are the durable things. Integrity. Trust. Clarity. So I focus on those.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Amy Hood is Chief Financial Officer at Microsoft. She runs the company’s finance, tax, accounting, real estate audit teams and more. It’s a really huge role in a very complex business. We are partners on the Microsoft Senior Leadership Team and one thing that always struck me seeing her work up close is how she’s always totally in control when it comes to operating in high-stakes environments. Four times a year, Amy leads the Microsoft earnings call with investors and the media. And however well things are going in the business, there’s always lots, lots of intensity. Amy has so much wisdom to share with leadership. I was super excited to have her on the podcast. So, Amy, you and I go a long way in our journeys via Microsoft. And you are a colleague, but also a very close partner of the senior leadership team of our company. And I’ve got a very deep respect for you and the work that you’ve done, work you keep doing for the company and beyond. I remember, actually, vividly many great, exciting one-on-one’s we had in our professional life. But this conversation is going to be a bit different. It’s going to be more personal, maybe emotional at times as we discuss your own leadership and transformation journey and the way you think about your own purpose, your leadership philosophy, your impact at work and beyond the professional circles as well. So it’s a delight, Amy, to have you on my Positive Leadership podcast here in Redmond in Washington State. Welcome.
AMY HOOD: Thank you very much. I’m excited and honored that you asked me.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: So to start with, Amy, I’d like to get back to your family roots. If I understand well, your childhood was in a small city in Kentucky and then in Nashville, Tennessee. You and I have actually two things in common. We both grew up in the south. You in Kentucky in the U.S. and me in little France, in Nice in the French Riviera. And I think the second thing we have in common, our dads were both doctors. But none of us decided to become doctors. And none of us as well stayed in the south. So you didn't become a teacher either, despite, I think, having many professor or teachers in your family. So can you tell us more how your parents, I think your grandma played an important role as well, your sisters and other significant have shaped some of your core values, that you consider as your moral compass. And what are those early life values that in a way still define who you are and the way you think about life. I know it's a big question to start.
AMY HOOD: It is a big question to start. And we do have those things in common. I did grow up in Kentucky. In a relatively small town. A bit away from where my mother’s side of the family had grown up and I always had, a very tightknit family unit. Very close. And in so many ways, I would say what I think about core values, leading by example. We weren’t a family that maybe talked about the example you should set. It was absolutely about the actions that you took.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Doing it. Showing it.
AMY HOOD: Showing it. Every day.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Every day.
AMY HOOD: Whether that was showing how you cared for someone through actions. Maybe it was showing that hard work, which is probably a second principle, that hard valuable work done in the pursuit, not of yourself or in recognition, but in the enablement of others or an outcome. You know, we grew up in the church. The church was the center of the community and the center of the value system in some ways. So the concept was never that you did it for you. You did it for a bigger purpose. Whatever that purpose was to you. And so I always knew that if you wanted to be understood as having a good compass, a good understanding of your role, you did that through hard work toward ends that benefited not you but community. And I think that shows itself in many of their choices. As you noted, my father’s a doctor. My sister’s a doctor. My mother was a nurse.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Nurse, yeah.
AMY HOOD: My grandfather was a teacher. My grandmother was active in the church. Cousins, family members, all in that . . .
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: All, community and involved.
AMY HOOD: . . . in community. Yeah.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: No, it really transparent in your personality as well. It’s interesting because, in a way the words you’ve been using, Amy, are very aligned with some of the fundamentals of Positive Leadership, which is you go at one point from everything about yourself, I think we kind of all go through that cycle at some point, to be to the service of others. And understand actually the way you can do that in your lives, professional, personal, social, together, is a big accomplishment. So I’m sure we’ll get a chance to talk about that. So now really one of the confirmations, again, of a positive leader is self-awareness, self-confidence so that you can actually allow yourself to be emphatic, vulnerable, and caring. It really takes a lot of hard work on yourself and oneself to take care of you physically, mentally, emotionally. So what I would like you maybe to share with your listeners is what are your daily routines, so that when you start your day, you feel the positive energy flowing into your veins and into your mind and then into your mouth, and it flows.
AMY HOOD: That’s such a good question. I do have some routines. And I think actually I have adopted them in this job more so than maybe I realized . . .
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Before. OK.
AMY HOOD: . . . before. I realized I needed better tools to handle pressure and where that pressure comes from and why does it exist. Number one, sleep is incredibly valuable. People often, I think, even myself at times, used to think, oh, well, it’s about the hours you work. Now I’m a big advocate it is the opposite.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Exactly.
AMY HOOD: It’s about the sleep you get.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Quality of sleep.
AMY HOOD: It’s about the quality of that rest, the mind, the break that your body needs. It’s not about how many hours you put in. It’s about preparing yourself to be really ready to have a meeting or a moment in the workday or outside the workday that’s respectful.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Respectful. It’s a funny word to choose but it’s also really telling about Amy’s approach to her own self-care and the care she shows to others. The thing about self-care is that it takes time. But Amy sees it as a good investment. An investment into the kind of energy that she and I and you want to see in the people we work with or live with. Energy that enables you to be focused and dynamic, and present in a way that shows respect to the people you interact with in your day-to-day.
AMY HOOD: I think when you get into leadership seats, and it doesn’t have to be the seats you and I are in but in any position, you can often forget what the purpose of a meeting or a moment is. And it can seem like, for you and I, it could be getting an answer. Usually that’s not the purpose of a meeting anymore. It’s about what example does that moment give to the people who see you or I once a year. Once every 90 days.
Once in a career. And that moment and what it means.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Yes, what, what is the takeaway . . .
AMY HOOD: To them.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: . . . from that as well. What is the, yes.
AMY HOOD: What, what happens in those 55 minutes, 25 minutes whatever.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Interactions, yes.
AMY HOOD: And what do they leave with. And so what I think about why do you create routines? Why do you create space in your day to be ready? It’s because to me it’s another day. To a lot of people, it’s their moment.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: It’s their day.
AMY HOOD: It’s their Day. Their big Day. Their, their Capital D Day, as opposed to you and I, where it’s Tuesday, or Wednesday.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: You are very sensitive to that context for the people surrounding yourself.
AMY HOOD: Because other, if you miss those, you miss everything, really.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Agree with you.
AMY HOOD: About what it means to really do a job. As opposed to complete the task, right?
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: All of us have things going on in our lives that drain our energy, there’s pressure, there’s sadness, too. And if you want to have the energy to be fully in tune to the people around you, fully tuned into their experience of you, you need to make that choice. It doesn’t just happen by accident. Now, there’s lots of ways you can put yourself into a more positive headspace. Amy uses positive affirmations. Every morning she tells herself the same thing. ‘Today is going to be a good day.’
AMY HOOD: And for me I tend to do it on my, either drive in or if I’m staying and working from my home office, I tend to do it on a walk and say, OK, now is the time.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: So prepare your mind.
AMY HOOD: Prepare the mind to say, here is my day, here are the moments that I need to accomplish and it needs to be good. It doesn’t mean everything that’s gonna happen that day is good or positive or easy. It means you’re making a choice about how you respond. And if you start there, it’s far, I think, more empowering to make better decisions.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: And I think it really creates a wonderful environment for others to speak up, to open up, to thrive, because you make it much easier for everyone else as well. So one thing that’s really interesting about your career is that your past leadership is not a linear one. Most CFOs have a background in accounting or financial law. You don't. You got a Bachelor, I think in Economy I mean, very great background from Duke, then MBA from Harvard and then started Goldman Sachs in 2002. And there’s this great quote, which I found where you say that you continually took jobs where you were not really qualified for. So how important has it been for you to move outside of your areas of comfort? Outside beyond the plan of record you had to accept to take risks and accelerate your personal growth?
AMY HOOD: It’s interesting there are lots of things that are critical to being comfortable taking risks. But the, probably the one that’s the most critical is self-awareness and self-confidence. Those two aspects. And so I think earlier in my career I was not nearly as comfortable. And it’s because, you know, I took a job at Goldmans Sachs, it’s true. I had taken zero finance classes at that time, zero accounting, although I still haven’t taken those, as you know. And really I was just looking for a job. Not a career. A job. And, you know, you take a job because you don't have a better idea in that moment, and then you learn. Which I’ve always said to people, you know, I learned parts of it l liked, parts of it I didn't enjoy as much. But then it took me maybe longer than others to realize that I maybe wasn’t made for that work. Although I liked many things. I worked there in, for a long time.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: For a long time, many years, right?
AMY HOOD: Yeah, they, yeah. So it wasn’t, I always say to people, you know, they’re disappointed when maybe their first job choice doesn’t work. And I’m like, oh, I, I’ve been through many that I maybe wasn’t deemed as successful. But in those moments, you have to find that awareness. And as I maybe got into my early 30s, which I remind people, I had no job at that point. I had quit my job. I had no job. No plan. And simply had a friend here who said, ‘Let’s just find some grounding.’ Like, ‘Let’s get another job and just work on it.’ And I realized in that moment, I think I had solved for everybody else but my own sort of confidence and finding that grounding. And so maybe at 30 when I take a job at Microsoft, I found that grounding.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Huh. It was an accident.
AMY HOOD: One of the best accidents that could've happened.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: That could've happened, yeah.
AMY HOOD: Yeah.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Now, and it’s great, great to hear the way you’ve been thinking about actually experiencing work, Amy. And the way you, you didn't necessarily have a vocation as you started. But you grounded yourself, getting to know yourself in reality and then deciding to find the right place to go and grow your potential. You make me think actually of a conversation I had with someone Herminia Ibarra. She’s professor of Organizational Change at London Business School. This is what she told me in a podcast. ‘Don't let the way you’ve done things in the past define you. And don't be afraid to made radical change.’ And she talks about the cycle of acting like a leader. And then thinking like a leader, of a change from the outside in, which creates what she calls outsides. So what she means is the principle owes that the only way to think like a leader is to first act. Take action. And I think you are someone who takes action.
I can confirm that to my listeners in a big way. So you got a lot of incredible experiences, of course, along your career at Microsoft in ways that could help you changing and shaping your perspective as well, I guess, on the world, and the economy, on the business, and many thing else. And so one of the key attributes, really, that we find as we expose ourselves to experiences is the way we are able, again, to build that positive energy in ourselves and to create an environment again for our team to do our best work. So can you tell us the way you can help people in your team to particularly in some of the most challenging times, and we are, you know, like any large company, we’ve gone through ups and downs, Financial crisis 2008 and now, well, maybe a recession coming up, who knows, and so how have you built your people faiths in themselves? How do you do that?
AMY HOOD: Oh, this is a hard one because I think it’s also grounded in some consistency, right? I do three things as the CFO of Microsoft. I pick leaders. I develop leaders. And I allocate resources.
Two of them are about building people.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: People and teams.
AMY HOOD: And teams.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Yes.
AMY HOOD: And so for me building those teams means creating clarity so that they and the leaders know it’s their responsibility. Realizing that power doesn’t come from being the decider. Real power comes from building an organization that can make decisions and build. And so when you start to move the ego and the ID from the thing, from the job, you start to spend a lot more time on others and teams and leaders. And I think that journey is the journey of what, that you’re talking about. You have to say, OK, well, I’m gonna spend my time building confidence. I’m gonna spend my time building confidence in others. I’m gonna spend my time coaching before the meetings so that I’m not in the meeting. And you think about every choice. Who’s gonna respond to the e-mail? Where should the e-mail go? It’s in every action.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Every small detail matters.
AMY HOOD: Every small detail.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: I love the way you talked about those kind of three uber priorities in a way in your life, professional life and a way use that as your compass to really understand what is expected from you to achieve in that particular moment, instant, with that interaction with customers, with people, with teams, with analysts, and back to those fundamentals so I think that brings so much clarity for a leader and not be confused and attached to position of supposedly strengths or superiority which is irrelevant.
AMY HOOD: It’s irrele-, and I think this is the one thing that’s so hard, I think, when we, when you or I talk about it, a lot of people see the position in a hierarchy.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Completely, yeah.
AMY HOOD: And think with that comes things.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Yes.
AMY HOOD: What really comes with it is a decision to make service of your daily existence. Not about the meeting and that pivot.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Yeah.
AMY HOOD: Which I didn't do until later.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Same with me.
AMY HOOD: Like you don’t, in those moments . . .
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: You don't realize it. You don't realize.
AMY HOOD: No.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: So I like to expand the discussion the way you do that at scale. Building, picking those talents, building those organizations, capabilities, people. You and I have been together actually sponsoring the Microsoft Management Model the famous model called Model Coach Care. We’ve been even registering together a learning session on LinkedIn which I invite all listeners to check out. You know, in that session, you, I was listening it again and you were basically emphasizing three key practices to attract and retain the best talents. Number one, be intentional and enthusiastic about a potential for individuals to thrive and create an environment where people can actually thrive. Number two, know everyone capabilities and aspirations, like one by one. Number three, invest in the growth of others by getting them in the beginning and growing their careers. So can you share with us the way you learned and you’ve been practicing that caring muscle along the way? And any kind of, not, more than tips, any kind of advice, coaching advice? You have all listeners particularly again in that moment, Amy, of course we’ve gone through the pandemic. You know, here comes another time and who knows where it’s gonna go, depending where you live in the world as well. So how much caring helps?
AMY HOOD: People interpret caring in many ways. And I have taken caring, and that’s the language that you and I just used, is about an investment you make in someone else to understand their goals.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: It’s about them.
AMY HOOD: It’s about them. The care is really taking the time.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Oh, yeah.
AMY HOOD: It’s taking the time and the commitment to understand really what they want, really respecting those choices. It means reserving judgement.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Yes.
AMY HOOD: And this is the hard one.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: The jump immediately on your judgement.
AMY HOOD: My judgement of their choice. There is no, that’s not part of it. The part of it is only, I wanna understand the journey that you want to be on and I want to think about how I can support that journey. Even if it may not match, in my mind, the journey you are, like, wow, if I had your attributes, I would really want to do this. I may get excited by that. But that’s not the job.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: That’s not a job.
AMY HOOD: That’s not the job. And I do think that’s, in those moments, if I could offer, you know, advice, it’s the investment of time and the reservation of judgement. And then the energy needs to go toward the other.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: The others, yeah. I just want to take a pause there to let that point sink in. It is common knowledge that helping employees set and reach goals is a critical part of every manager’s job. But what if you don’t agree with their goals? I mean their personal goals? But what if you think they’re making the wrong goals? Suck it up. Caring doesn’t mean infantilizing others. A manager’s job is to provide supportive autotomy, to give people the room they need to success in whatever it is that they want to achieve. It’s very complimentary, obviously, to the other muscle I’ve been passionate about, which I know you are passionate about as well, Amy, which is, of course, coaching people, which, you know, in my favorite, well, my favorite episode I have is Michael Bungay Stanier, reminds me of Crossroads. A few of the principles he’s been using I have tried to practice myself for years because, be lazy in a sense of not finding a solution for the others, fixing the problems for the others, which I’ve been guilty of being for so many years in my life. And be often in a way you open for that moment of coaching these people. So I like to expand discussion on something additionally critical to build lasting capabilities with a team who’s gonna really bring his very best with you every single day in any organization, not just in a business. Could be an NGO. Could be public services. It’s a sense of belonging. And I think something call to your heart as well. So could you unpack with me, why is a sense of belonging so important? How do you build it? How would you build it?
AMY HOOD: Oh, this is, I think this may be the thing I cared the most about in building a team. Belonging, it lets people do great things. It lets them offer maybe unusual suggestions to a problem.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Uh-huh. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
AMY HOOD: When I have felt like an outsider, I never raised my hand. I never whispered to the person next to me, Maybe there’s a better way? I never sent an e-mail asking for clarifying, I never did those things.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Yeah, yeah.
AMY HOOD: When I felt a little on the outside.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Yes.
AMY HOOD: And then you think about, wow, if I felt on the outside . . .
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: What about the others?
AMY HOOD: Imagine how the vast majority of people who . . .
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: True.
AMY HOOD: . . . do not have the background and privilege that you and I have . . .
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: For sure.
AMY HOOD: . . . must feel in those moments. So then it becomes almost an imperative, like a weight.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Yes.
AMY HOOD: That if you are not doing that as a leader, if you’re not enabling people to only do what they’re capable, which is amazing things.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: It is amazing to get that down, yes.
AMY HOOD: Then you have to take that away. So that’s why belonging for me is a almost purpose. Because if you just for one second think, what don’t you do when you, what, what behaviors? And you know that they’re all the things that don’t make people shine. And so we know what people shining looks like, right?
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Yeah, yeah.
AMY HOOD: You know the joy, the pride, the way they walk home.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Yeah. Yeah.
AMY HOOD: The way they go home and say to people, ‘I had a great day.’
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: And I’m proud of the day I had, the impact I had.
AMY HOOD: And they’re proud. And then that builds in your personal life, right?
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Oh, for sure.
AMY HOOD: And so I, when I envision that cycle, then those days you remember, did you build that? Did you think about it? We use lots of words for it, as you know, here. Inclusion and . . .
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
AMY HOOD: But belonging.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: It’s a great word.
AMY HOOD: I think it’s a nice word.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: It’s a great word. It also, honestly, it reminds us of the belonging to our families as well. I think family roots as well. So in a way it brings people back to their call, I think. So it’s wonderful way, I think, you describe that criticality of the sense of belonging, Amy. So moving on, almost to the end, almost. I was talking actually to Pete Carroll that I think you know well, as well, the Seattle Seahawks head coach on a podcast. He’s someone, as you know, who has been spending a lot of time and energy making sure his players feel like they belong. He used that word, too. He realized that it’s only when people feel like they belong that they are willing and able to hear what they need to improve, actually, as well. That to push yourself to your limits, to take risks, to be prepared to fail at the highest levels. And you need to feel uncomfortable from time to time. So being mindful about finding ways to making your team feel relaxed, whether it’s looking them into the eyes and smiling more or coming out behind your desk, these things matter. And so coming back to your reality as well, Amy, as a CFO, again, you present Microsoft to the financial markets four times a year. So how do you manage those situations? I know before, earlier, you talked about your routines.
AMY HOOD: I do.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Is it what helps you and what else do you do to be ready for that moment?
AMY HOOD: I still get very nervous. And to make sure I’m centered in that I have a few things I do. Number one, I, people laugh, I eat lunch very early.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Earlier than . . .
AMY HOOD: Earlier . . .
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Than usually. Yes.
AMY HOOD: . . . than usual. And I already eat a little early because I’m a morning person.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: So how early is that?
AMY HOOD: Like 10:00 in the mornings. I just have …..
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: OK. Wow.
AMY HOOD: So because for me . . .
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Yeah.
AMY HOOD: . . . at that point, I then don't do other things.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: I got you.
AMY HOOD: So at that point, I’ve decided . . .
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Your entire body.
AMY HOOD: My entire body needs to become more grounded. You need to clear your mind.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Yes.
AMY HOOD: I do not answer e-mail. I do not answer text. My phone is down.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Shut down your phone, etcetera. Yes.
AMY HOOD: My phone is away. I take a walk. You will recall, I used to have to do one earnings call a year from a remote location at our sales event. And so taking walks in cities I wasn’t comfortable with, I think I made some of your sales team nervous because I looked like I was wandering the hallways of hotels around the world. But it was more just keeping the consistency for me. Then I do some breathing exercises. And then I just read through the script one last time and then I’m done.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Then you're done.
AMY HOOD: And then I’m done.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: And now, unfortunately, comes the very last question because I just recorded a fantastic discussion with Sir Ronald Cohen. Don't know if you know, Amy, he’s someone who created Apax Partners. So the time where he was actually very first VC’s in the world. He created as well the first social impact bond in the world. And advised the UK Government and the G8 on their social innovation agenda. Ronnie, as he likes to be called, believed that our existing social contract has expired and we are now in the process of drawing up a new one in the form of impact capitalism. He is deeply convinced that the combined power of financial markets, entrepreneurs and big businesses to bring urgently needed solution is vastly greater than even the power of governance. And that we must harness this pearl. So he believes indeed that it’s time to reshape capitalism so that it delivers its promised to increase prosperity and social progress for all, spreading meaningful economic opportunity to billions of people, less inequality and preserving your planet for future generations. I know this is a big and bold vision, Amy. I know it could seem almost naïve at some point. But how do you see the role of the business community, beyond, of course, delivering the expected financials for the shareholders, number one? Has the time come, indeed, to not only do that, but also be an active participant in helping the world and the planet to be a better place for your kids, my kids, and all of us?
AMY HOOD: Well, I think this is one where, you know, you and I have spent a lot of time, even at Microsoft about how we can participate in that. It’s, we’re lucky, in many ways because we work at a place whose mission is in fact to empower those things to happen. Not just for ourselves, inside our walls, but to empower customers and partners to do the same. Many of whom share our vision that the role of corporations is to have profitable solutions to the problems of the planet.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Yeah.
AMY HOOD: I think is what Satia Nedalla and I and you are often . . .
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Love using this.
AMY HOOD: . . . discuss. And whether that is investments in sustainability, trying it find innovative solutions using our capital along with those of . . .
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: The technology.
AMY HOOD: And technology.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Yeah, talents, etcetera, yeah.
AMY HOOD: To help a breakthrough. Because I do think there’s both business opportunity, which is really what the conver-, there . . .
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Completely. It’s not philanthropy. I’m not talking about philanthropy. I’m talking about real, yeah.
AMY HOOD: There’s real opportunity.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Yes.
AMY HOOD: That will be created by technical advancement to have durable solutions in climate but in other places. And the role that we can have in seats like yours or mine is to see the world as a connected place, right? Where investments we make in wind or carbon removal are, of course, good for us. I don't want to mislead anyone.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Sure. Sure.
AMY HOOD: They’re absolutely good for the Microsoft Corporation because we believe that our commitment to net zero is a real commitment to deliver on.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: We’re executing against that commitment. Yes.
AMY HOOD: And we are executing against that commitment.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Yeah.
AMY HOOD: But it’s also those solutions by companies who have the ability to make those kind of commitments, and the flexibility to do it, can lead, and in fact, we feel we should lead in those ways. And I think we, our job is to the pick the ones where we can have the biggest impact. We’ve picked sustainability. We’ve picked affordable housing in places and around the world we’ve picked inequality. Maybe as our largest commitments that we see where we can make a real difference. There are others. Broadband access. We can go down the list of things that can help shrink gaps. And also who can build the next generation of employees with real skills. They’re valued in the market today. Build an economic opportunity that builds on itself. And so I think those are the days that help make days good. Right? When you say, have a good . . .
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Having a good day.
AMY HOOD: Back to having a good day. As you remember those aren’t side pursuits, they’re fundamental pursuits. So if you want to think about hiring the best employees around the world, if you want to think about retaining the best people. If you want to think about building connection and inclusion and belonging these things do that. They do that. And they build purpose. And that purpose encourages others. And I, I don't know, I do think those things matter.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: They do.
AMY HOOD: People often ask, can I, can I do a math equation on it? And I’ve thought more and more maybe I can, right? Because you know what employee retention means. You know what the best people mean.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: You know the value of that, yes.
AMY HOOD: You know what getting a profitable solution to sustainability means. And I’ve increasingly believed that if we need to be, do the math, we can do the math.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: Yes. Amy’s visioin for the role of corporations to provide profitable solutions to the world’s problems is something that matters to me and I think to all employees at Microsoft, and increasingly, our shareholders as well. Gone are the days where we could expect someone else, the Garmin agency, or some other nebulous large bodies to have the answers and abilities to solve all of the world’s issues. It is not enough weight for someone else to do it. We need smart, capable, innovative individuals and organizations to be motivated to leverage their core resources to solve these problems. What a wonderful way to end a conversation with you, Amy. It’s been a real, real pleasure to get to know you a bit better, a different one-on-one than we had in the past. From Kentucky to New York to Redmond, Washington State, and more importantly to your leadership journey. I think it’s a wonderful and inspiring example for many listeners, particularly young female talents across the world to feel inspired. About the pearl they have in themselves to achieve more, to achieve more and to, of the bravery you talk about. To have the ability to create the space for themselves to speak up, to grow, and to basically, you know, carry the positive energy with others in their lives, so thank you so much for that moment, Amy. And I wish you, of course, the very best, not just for the next earnings call. But for all the big things you’re going to do, not just for Microsoft but via Microsoft in your community. Thanks a lot, Amy, it was a pleasure.
AMY HOOD: Thank you for having me.
JEAN-PHILLIPPE COURTOIS: You’uve been listening to Positive Leadership with Jean-Phillippe Courtois, JP. If you’ve got a question about leadership you’d like me to look into or someone you’ud like me to have on the show as a guest, do get in touch on LinkedIn or Twitter. I’m always excited to hear your suggestions. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, don't forget to leave us a comment or rating and subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts. That’s it. Good-bye!