What Can We Learn From Sundar Pichai?

The recent appointment of Sundar Pichai as CEO of Google is a typical Indian success story and it is definitely not an exceptional case. Looking across top global companies, we can see many Indians in top positions leading them to success in their respective fields. Students and professionals often come up to me and ask how they can be as successful as these icons. Here are some pointers we can take from Sundar and others like him who have made it to the top.


Rise Of Sundar Pichai


First of all, there is no secret sauce or formula for success. As the great artist Michelangelo said:

“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all”.

If you want to reach the top then you have to make your way by sheer hard work and focus. Sundar graduated from IIT in 1994 and joined Google in 2004. In these 10 long years, he worked at Applied Materials and Mckinsey and at Google, he led many successful projects that made Larry Page recognize his potential. Sundar took on some of the most challenging roles and made sure he delivered spot on. Although he is known to be a quiet and humble human being, his work speaks for itself and his will to excel surely landed him at the CEO position.

Clarity Of Thoughts And Passion

When Microsoft made Bing its default search engine, Google had to look for innovative means to maintain its market share. Pichai stepped in with Google Toolbar and Google Updater to retain Microsoft customers and simultaneously worked on Google’s own browser Chrome cementing Google’s position in the search market as well as in the browser game. This shows Sundar Pichai’s clarity of vision and commitment to his goals.

Larry Page has always pressed on the issue of innovation, and appreciates Sundar’s ability to make “faster, better decisions” as his best quality. He emphasizes that, “As you age, even when you’re still a teenager like Google, you have to work hard to stay innovative. Innovation is messy, a disruptive process, and people tend to be more comfortable doing what they’ve always done with a few minor tweaks”. This explains the importance of innovation and its place in today’s world.

Connect And Empower People

The internet is flooded with anecdotes and stories about Pichai, highlighting the fact that everybody loves Sundar Pichai at Google. His team mates and colleagues sincerely believe that he actually cares about people, and their problems. From personally engaging with every team member he can to going out of his way to supporting them to hand picking the really good people as opposed to the most political and opportunistic ones, Pichai has gracefully navigated the politics of a company as large as Google.

This is the most important quality of any leader as anyone in such an important position realizes that an individual has his/her limitation but when individual talents are allowed to blossom freely, they bring about the synergy to propel the team in the right direction.

Sundar Pichai’s ascent to the position of CEO in the industry’s top most organization is an inspiration to all Indians. Following in his footsteps, we are sure to see many young minds achieve such global laurels as Indian innovation finally comes of age.

Posted in Blog, Leadership
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