Steven Elop

Highline Career Club Interviews Microsoft Exec

by Ryan Harmon

Highline Community College students live and work in the shadow of the Redmond tech giant Microsoft. With Steve Ballmer stepping down as CEO the future leadership of Microsoft is up in the air. Sources suggest the field of candidates for the top spot has been narrowed down to three people. One prominent candidate has been receiving a lot of attention, Steven Elop, President & CEO of Nokia. Elop was previously the president of the business division at Microsoft prior to becoming CEO at Nokia in 2010. With Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s devices division, Elop returns to Microsoft 1Q 2014, and is being considered for CEO.
One of Highline’s strengths is its Computer Sciences department and many students pursuing degrees dream of finding themselves at Microsoft. For this reason, Ryan Harmon of the Highline Career Club contacted Elop to interview him about leadership.

Harmon: Who is someone that has influenced your leadership style?
Elop: Dean Art Heidebrecht, former Dean of Engineering at McMaster University. I learned a lot from him while at school, during a time when I worked part-time for him. A very thoughtful, inspirational leader.

Harmon: What has been the most influential thing to your career success?
Elop: Listening, and learning from others. Hard work. Leadership.

Harmon: What is your role as a leader?
Elop: To create an environment for others to succeed.

Harmon: What is your greatest strength as a leader?
Elop: Open, honest, direct communications.

Harmon: What is your leadership style?
Elop: Leadership principles:
1. Open, honest, direct and transparent communications
2. Partner internally, compete externally
3. Assume the best of intentions in others
4. Debate vigorously, but fully support the final decision
5. Model these behaviors for others, and call out others when you see bad behaviors

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