Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says people waste far too much time doing one thing

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says people waste far too much time doing one thing

Microsoft’s CEO has had enough with senior employees wasting time.

“We do all kinds of analytics around sales data and a lot of other pieces of information. What if we started bringing that same amount of rigor to how people spend time?” Microsoft MSFT, +0.24%  CEO Satya Nadella told the Freakonomics podcast released Monday. “The more senior you are, the more careful you need to be in setting up meetings.”

“When I set up a review, it turns out that people will do at least five reviews before they show up to me because that’s kind of how it goes, right?” he said. “They review with their manager or their manager will review with their manager or, depending on the topic and the matrix organization, it could become an exponential growth thing.”

People have too many meetings, particularly as employees become more senior, Nadella said. “You don’t need to have pre-meetings for essentially what is going to be a discussion,” he told the podcast. “I think [that] can help cut down the amount of time people spend on meetings. It’s simple, yet it has a profound impact in organization.”

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Nor does he like to waste his own time. “My least favorite thing would be when someone says, ‘Come just do these ribbon-cutting type of things.’ I think, ‘Why does somebody care about a CEO of a tech company?’” His favorite way to spend time at work: “When I get to meet these engineers who know no fear or no conceptual boundary and can dream of the most impossible things.”

Nadella didn’t mention the time spent on social media at work. A large majority of people say they regularly check social media while they are at work, according to 2016 research from the Pew Research Center, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. One-third use it to take a mental break, while 27% say they use it to connect with family and friends while at work.

While investors gasped at the twists and turns of the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.62% last month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the same podcast that social networks amplify people’s goodness. “I believe that on balance people are good and that, therefore, amplifying that has positive effects,” Zuckerberg said.