Steve Ballmer’s career advice on how to become a Fortune 500 CEO

Samantha Lee/Business Insider

Former Microsoft CEO Steve
Ballmer has some crucial advice for aspiring


Luck is a crucial key to success, according to former Microsoft
CEO Steve Ballmer. But you also have to put yourself in a
position to become lucky.

In an interview for
Business Insider’s podcast, “Success! How I Did It,”
said he advises younger people who are just starting their
careers to find something they are really passionate about. Once
they have a passion, they can build a career by working
hard, being thoughtful, and getting a little lucky. 

“There are people who are willing to work a little harder,
willing to be a little smarter, and still don’t have success,”
Ballmer said. “And some people do and there’s a luck element
that distinguishes those.”

The three most important things any ambitious future leader
needs, he says, are:

  1. Hard work
  2. Good ideas
  3. Luck

There are two kinds of people,” Ballmer
explained. “My son will tell me this, ‘Dad, there are people
who live to work and there are people who work to live,’ and I
respect both of those things. But if you’re trying to have a
career, you’re going to have a little bit more live-to-work in
you than work-to-live.”

Once a solid career has been developed, Ballmer has
additional advice for how to be a successful leader. 

He told his successor at Microsoft, Satya Nadella: “You’ve got to
be bold, but you’ve got to be right.” 

A leader has to point employees in the right
direction. “If you should be zagging left and you send
people down the right, that’s the biggest failure a leader can
make,” Ballmer told Business Insider.

Below, check out the episode with Ballmer explaining how he
helped build Microsoft, or keep scrolling for a transcript
detailing his advice to the next…

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