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Microsoft CFO: Define Your Own Role

Amy Hood wants to bust the stereotype that CFOs are mainly “bean counters.”

“I define my role as making Microsoft a place our customers, partners, and employees want to pick every day,” Hood said of her focus as EVP and CFO at Microsoft. “If you do that, you also create a culture that you want.”

She told Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit in Laguna Nigel, Calif. that she looked at the position as an opportunity to create her own definition of what a CFO does.

“You can rewrite what the job is about,” Hood said, “And you can bring what you have to it and then surround yourself with really awesome people who bring things that you don’t have.”

She defines the job as “pairing aspiration with doing.” While the role is traditionally seen as metrics-driven, Hood says she doesn’t separate the numbers from the goals they’re meant to measure.

“Metrics were just an expression of the change we wanted to have,” she added, from shifting company culture to launching new products.

“Everyday is a chance to deliver on those goals,” Hood said, and for her that opportunity begins on a personal level. Think about yourself first, she says, and what you can do today to create clarity, generate energy, and deliver to your team and partners.

“The more you model that mindset as a leader, the more people aspire to do that too,” Hood said.

And that attitude extends to the Microsoft leadership team. Hood said she feels “very lucky” that CEO Satya Nadella and the rest of the executives work together in such a collaborative manner.

“We each work hard on what we own and feel accountable to each other for those outcomes,” she said, “and that’s powerful.”

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