4 minute read

Although I’ve officially been in the role since 8 April 2019, I’m heading out to Redmond next week for my official onboarding to a new position. I’ve moved to the Microsoft Worldwide Learning (WWL) organization into a new role supporting Azure training as part of the internal Enterprise Skills Initiative (ESI) to “teach, don’t sell” and upskill our customers on our products and services. My official title is currently “Sr Business Program Manager,” but I will eventually be converted to the real title of “Azure Technical Trainer.”

You: “Congrats!…but what does all of that mean?”

Me: “Well, I’m glad you asked…”

Three part answer:

  1. BIG changes for me

  2. BIGGER changes to learning

  3. BIGGEST changes in culture

Addendum to #1: Russell Brand might be my spirit animal

1. BIG changes for me

I spent my previous nine years at Microsoft delivering professional services, most of which were in the Microsoft Premier Support organization in multiple roles and technology. Over that time, I had the incredible opportunity to work with hundreds of enterprise customers spread across numerous verticals.

Some things I will miss:

  • Being a part of solution lifecycles from planning to post-deployment support… soup-to-nuts

Photo by [Suzanne D. Williams](https://unsplash.com/photos/VMKBFR6r_jg?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText) on [Unsplash](https://unsplash.com/search/photos/growth?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText)

  • Embedded and long-running engagements with the tight-knit customer and account virtual teams

Photo by [Randy Fath](https://unsplash.com/photos/ymf4_9Y9S_A?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText) on [Unsplash](https://unsplash.com/search/photos/team?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText)

Fun story around this confusion when I first relocated to Germany and list my title in the paperwork. The relocation consultant was uber-impressed that I was THE Premier Field Engineer for Microsoft and the paperwork was listed as “VIP”

Photo by [Fauzan Saari](https://unsplash.com/photos/AmhdN68wjPc?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText) on [Unsplash](https://unsplash.com/search/photos/winner?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText)

Some things I won’t:

  • The daily grinds of logging my time/labor daily. 110% will not miss that living rent free in my head every day and waking up in a panic wondering if I’d remembered to log my time against a Federal contract before midnight.

Photo by [Jan Kopřiva](https://unsplash.com/photos/2MbEfheLQvQ?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText) on [Unsplash](https://unsplash.com/search/photos/daily-grind?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText)

  • Trading hours for dollars

Photo by [Sharon McCutcheon](https://unsplash.com/@sharonmccutcheon?utm_source=medium&utm_medium=referral) on [Unsplash](https://unsplash.com?utm_source=medium&utm_medium=referral)

2. BIGGER changes to learning

Gone are the days of the rote memorization, “stump the chump” trick questions, and even the #2 pencil for test taking. I started my professional career certification journey with a Windows XP exam, a hot of the presses giant study guide from MSPress, a collection of TechNet subscription CDs, and a dream…

There have certainly been some changes since I picked up my Windows XP cert in 2002 (not on the first try!)

Not the least of which is the shift in approach to real scenarios and practical application of knowledge. Additional focus on certifying the ability to perform a role as opposed to memorizing the number of clicks in an application to get through menus for a specific configuration(!)

Microsoft GM of Worldwide Learning Says Neuroscience Is the Future in Companies Chris Pirie isn’t putting the future of organizational learning in the hands of gut feelings. He’s relying on hard…neuroleadership.com

Why Everything You Know About How Companies Learn Is About to Change Chris Pirie is the general manager of worldwide learning at Microsoft, focused on creating a digital, flexible, and…singularityhub.com

Microsoft Learn has implemented “role based” certifications, starting with Azure, that map more directly to real jobs and responsibilities. For example, there are Azure Administrator, Azure Developer, and Azure Architect role-based certifications… in the past these certifications have been more grounded in product releases and feature updates that came along with traditional waterfall/On-Prem software. In the new reality of “evergreen” cloud services, that just doesn’t fit.

New role-based certification and training is here, and we’re just getting started!

"New role-based certification and training is here, and we’re just getting started!"

3. BIGGEST changes in culture

Don’t be a know-it-all; be a learn-it-all

Apart from my stock shares climbing out of the $20–30 dollar range, this is one of the most exciting parts of working for Microsoft in my recent history. There is a true sea change in the culture and approach here since Sayta Nadella took the helm at CEO. One of the highlights is his emphasis and focus on having a “Growth mindset”.

Microsoft’s CEO Just Gave Some Brilliant Career Advice. Here It Is in 1 Sentence In a recent interview with Business Insider, Nadella credits Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck’s best-selling book, as…www.inc.com

Satya Nadella: ‘The Learn-It-All Does Better Than the Know-It-All’ In a WSJ Future of Work panel, Satya Nadella explains to WSJ Editor in Chief Matt Murray how he transformed the work…www.wsj.com

Some of our leadership principles are laid out below:

Generate energy, Create clarity, *and *Deliver success

I personally love the “Create clarity” portion and think it is critical in a lot of business (and personal) scenarios. In the role as a trainer, accelerating learners in their journey toward new cloud technologies and solutions requires clarity. The continuous challenge of teaching, positioning, and concentrating complex and evolving cloud technologies to folks at various levels of experience is a very exciting challenge for me.

I’m completely re-energized to be part of a new program within a massive organization like Microsoft, love the direction we are headed in for “skilling”, and do not miss logging my time daily one bit ;)