Four questions with … Alberto Granados

Microsoft Executives

Alberto Granados
Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Operations,
Microsoft Asia Pacific

Alberto leads sales and marketing operations for Asia Pacific and under his regional leadership, Microsoft successfully enabled government institutions and multinational commercial enterprises to innovate rapidly by adopting technologies and solutions in areas such as big data, social, cloud and mobility. Alberto studied at Lycée Français, Universidad Politécnica and holds a postgraduate degree from Programa de Desarrollo de Directivos by the IESE Business School of the Universidad de Navarra. He is married with two children. In his spare time, he is a vocational caricaturist, medium-distance runner and loves all kinds of music. Read his full bio here.

1. What was your first job?

I was 18 and taught computer programming, logic, and programming design to the unemployed in Madrid, so that they can learn new skills and get back into the workforce. I thought it was an extremely intelligent way to upskill and train people, since the Spanish government at that time was paying these unemployed folks to learn.

And that teaching experience was an amazing opportunity for me. It taught me about myself, my interest in developing talent and my passion for investing in people. It also taught me how to believe in myself and my methods.

I had a student, who suffered from sclerosis and he would be bent over, making himself smaller and therefore, inconspicuous. I would encourage him to come to the front of the class to solve queries on the board, even though it took him more time than the other students to make his way to the front AND write out the solution on the board. Many questioned my methods, but I believed in giving him the exact same opportunity I was giving every other student in that class.

And the most amazing thing is, a few years later, I was at one of the largest banks in Spain, and guess who was working there as a lead of the programming department! It was wonderful to see how he had succeeded, and it really was a gift to see him contributing to society.

For me, inclusion is not about doing the easy things, it’s about doing the uncomfortable things.

To be fair, that teaching opportunity wasn’t my only job. I was doing many different things, from developing software, to art, to designing book covers at a marketing company. They paid for both my education and all the weekend breaks one takes when you are young and carefree!

2. Did you say that you have been with Microsoft for 24 years?

24 years ago, I started working with Microsoft as a consultant to help one of the largest banks in Spain develop their online banking infrastructure.

The amazing thing about working at Microsoft is the continuous flow of opportunities that are available. And that has allowed me to continuously reinvent myself, learn and evolve to new markets, new cultures and new teams.

I moved from working with Microsoft in Spain to Microsoft Latin America to Microsoft Asia Pacific and I’ve been here in Asia for five years. I love how every day can be different in this part of the world, given the diversity in cultures, languages, economic opportunities and development. You can start the week in a sophisticated market, move to a developing market on Wednesday and end the week in one of the most emerging markets in the region where the infrastructure is so desperately in need of development. Each market has very specific needs and yet there is a unity to the aspirations. There is a hunger for learning and a deep enthusiasm for entrepreneurship.

3. Who inspires you? 

Alberto and his kids
Alberto and his children

My kids inspire me. They are natural learners and natural challengers. I am so impressed with how sophisticated their thought processes are and they challenge me every day on diversity and inclusion.

I come from a line of innovators; my father was a headstrong entrepreneur. The family had a nickname for him, we used to lovingly call him the mistake learner expert. He would always try new ways of doing things, or entirely new things, and would almost always fail. But what was wonderful to see is that he always learnt from his mistakes and would always see the bright side of the situation. He started numerous ventures including the first automobile radio company in Spain, and even built first color televisions. Those were one the first television sets to be built in Spain!

I remember him coming home one day, with a computer that had an apple logo on it – and turns out that he was also the first person to import an Apple computer to Europe. There was never a dull moment in my household, my father, like my children, is always filled with enthusiasm and a never-give-up attitude.

4. What is your leadership style?

Alberto and his teamI’d like to think I have a patchwork leadership style. I like to bring together all my different experiences and use them to help my team learn and grow. I believe in humble leadership; I am always learning from my peers.

It is important to constantly acquire knowledge, no matter your designation. I believe that one cannot think that they know everything. Learning is a continuous process, and that is the kind of leadership I like to bring to the organisation.

I’d like to think I am someone who positively challenges my team. It’s important for leaders to bring people out of their comfort zone while genuinely trying to help them achieve great things.

Lastly, I am fiercely supportive of inclusion and diversity. It’s in my DNA. I talk about it, I practice it, and I call out people who aren’t. Together, we can achieve, we can learn, we can grow, and we can thrive.


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