Try the Microsoft Mantra

Clarity. Alignment. Intensity.

Neat words, right?

Microsoft knows it is time to step it up. Re-energize how it does business. So it just ushered in Satya Nadella as its new CEO. Only the third CEO since the company launched. First thing the leadership team did under Mr. Nadella’s tenure? Clarify its purpose. And yep, this is what they came up with:

Our purpose is to bring Clarity, Alignment, Intensity. (NY Times, 2/21/2014)

I must confess, at first I bristled at the word alignment. Too “corporate-speak.” A near-cliché.

But then I began to ponder. Words create a frame for what we do. They carry potent energy. They become the force which we shape what happens every day, and they are a lens with which we view that which we encounter.

So why not Clarity, Alignment, Intensity? I propose a little experiment. Turn the Microsoft Mantra into 3 questions. Apply these questions to all that you are doing this week.

1.        Where do I need more Clarity?

The beauty of asking the clarity question: Merely asking the question begets more clarity. The question alone dissolves mental clouds. And clarity, in my worldview, is an exquisite and energizing thing.

2.        Where do I need more Alignment?

We become misaligned when we focus on the “wrong” tasks. When we fritter away time. When we harp on the non-essential. When we forget the purpose of our work.

Come to think of it, the alignment question is a rockstar question!

3.        Where do I need more Intensity?

When I fuel a task with intensity, I put fire behind it. I dig in. I invest. And this investment tends to accelerate whatever it is I am doing.

Many of us are comfortable with habit and routine. Too comfortable, perhaps. Many of us, like Microsoft, may benefit from more risk-taking and innovative action. The Intensity Question beautifully pinpoints the actions that will help us do just that.

If you don’t like the Microsoft Mantra, create your own. Simply remember: Your Mantra words have inherent power. They provide focus. They channel energy. They enlighten every moment of every day.

This week, be a Microsoft Leader in your daily life. Try on the Microsoft Mantra. Ask the Microsoft Mantra questions. And notice how this simple focus uplifts everything you do!