Leadership Lessons with Sundar Pichai
“You might fail a few times, but that’s Ok. you end up doing something worthwhile which you learn a great deal from.”
The Indian who redefined success, reaching the very pinnacle to rescript the story of his career trajectory, Sundar Pichai, is one leader the entire world looks up to. The CEO of Google and its parent company Alphabet Inc, he is not just an inspiration for young adults but also for numerous students who wish to write their success story on similar lines.
Hailing from a humble background in Chennai, Pichai completed his bachelor’s in Metallurgical Engineering from IIT Kharagpur, post which he pursued his MS in Material Science and Engineering from Stanford University. He also holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
My dad and mom did what a lot of parents did at the time. They sacrificed a lot of their life and used a lot of their disposable income to make sure their children were educated.
A living legend that Pichai is, humility is one characteristic that never left his side. Easily approachable and soft-spoken, he lets his work speak for himself, maintains a calm demeanour and strives to stay patient and live a drama-free life. Despite his growing popularity, he believes in keeping a low profile.
Establishing grounds for his humility is the fact that Pichai takes time out to mentor students from his alma mater, amidst all the hustle it takes to run Google!
As a leader, it is important to not just see your own success, but focus on the success of others.
What adds cherry to the cake is the fact that Sundar Pichai is not only down to earth but also is a great mentor who is known for his team-building skills, thus, setting forth another leadership lesson amongst the many other lessons. Keeping the success of his teammates above himself, he has nurtured great teams, always walking an extra mile to ensure that the efforts of his team are well-recognized.
Instead of building impenetrable glass walls, Pichai builds bridges, helping his team and co-workers learn, grow and cross barriers of self-doubt.
At Google, we have an ambitious approach to things we do, we call it moon shots.
A tech enthusiast ever since childhood, he was equipped with an extraordinary memory, which particularly outshined when he had to memorize telephone numbers. While his father took charge of leaving no stone unturned for his children’s education, Pichai was ambitious, right from the start. And after his stint at McKinsey & Co., when he joined Google in 2004, he knew how to put the jigsaw together. From the day he joined as the head of Product Management to this day where he stands tall and firm as the CEO of the organization, Sundar Pichai raised the bar of his ambitions, every once in a while when he managed to step past the previous levels.
The one who deciphered the need to introduce Google’s search engine in 2008, Pichai’s career graph took a giant leap when he was named the Vice President of Product Management. Pursued fiercely by Twitter and was even expected to take charge as the CEO of Microsoft in 2011, he decided to stay true to his roots and stuck beside Google all the while.
And so, when the foundations of Alphabet Inc were laid in 2015, created as Google’s parent company, Sundar Pichai, undeniably, was named the CEO of Google. Later, in 2019, when Page stepped down, he also took over as the CEO of Alphabet Inc. Encouraging young minds to stay on top of their game, he states, “Keep pushing your limits”.
Wear your failure as a badge of honour!
Re-stating the need to learn from mistakes, Sundar Pichai adds another leadership lesson in his palette of lessons when he emphasizes the need to acknowledge your failures and take risks until you succeed. He believes that “it is important to follow your dreams and heart. Do something that excites you.”
With this, he pushes the youth to step out of their comfort zone, make tough career calls and if needed, take the leap of faith. It might take multiple attempts for you to make it to the peak, but it is important to make the first move and break out of your cocoon. According to the Google CEO, “If you don’t fail sometimes, you are not being ambitious enough”.
Let yourself feel insecure from time, it will help you grow as an individual.
Discussing another subject, Sundar Pichai lays bare a topic that isn’t much discussed amidst the general public — insecurities, adding another leadership lesson to his bucket of lessons. He speaks of wearing your insecurities on your sleeve and not get ashamed of them because that is what helps you work hard and push yourself off the ledge. It is them, the smartest people in the room, that make you want to learn more and grow out of your comfort zone.
Stirring the winds of change in motion, Pichai is the leader who has set a real-life example of the famous proverb: “There are no shortcuts to success”. A pioneer in his field of work, his grit, perseverance and hard work helped him traverse the path to success. Carrying a persona adored by many, Sundar Pichai is an inspiration, a role-model and a live proof of the fact that a desire to accomplish goals backed by hard work and diligence can take you places.