Sundar Pichai who is recognized as Alphabet and Google CEO is accountable for making sure his organizations continue to grow, endure to evolve to keep up with the needs of various users and customers globally. To continue to think this way and perform accordingly is no easy job.
Several years ago, Columbia University football coach turned business coach Bill Campbell taught Sundar Pichai to question himself a crucial question. Sundar Pichai still asks the same question to himself even today.
Sundar Pichai says, “Whenever Bill Campbell and he met, Campbell would ask him”: “What ties did you break this week?” Campbell wasn’t talking about cutting ties as in splitting relationships. Instead, he was explaining to Sundar Pichai that he needed to break deadlocks. At times, when an issue makes it to a leader, there are (at least) two good choices available with which to move ahead. Both choices will have their pros and cons, along with their part of supporters. Taking a decision could divide the leader from half of their team–at least momentarily.
But, as a great leader, Pichai’s job isn’t to keep everyone satisfied. Nor should he support things to stay constant, assuming that one-half of the team will change their minds or that the “right” path forward will miraculously become evident. Rather, his job is to move things forward with his corporate strategy. There’s a significant lesson here for new leaders, and some longtime ones: If you try to please everyone, you will end up gratifying no one.
As great leaders, there are a few practices that should be followed:
Hierarchize those whom you want to please
In context to the business, the answer depends on factors like what does your company deal with, your position at the organization, and the company’s short- and long-term aims. When determining whom to prioritize, analyze the following groups of people:
- Your employees
- Your consumers
- Organization ownership, including shareholders
- Your managers
- Other principal stakeholders
Persevere progress. Not perfection
With a company as huge as Google (and its parent company, Alphabet, which has more than 130,000 employees), it’s natural for problems to get stuck. There will be numerous meetings and discussions.
But leaders must recognize that the goal isn’t perfection. The aim is to take things forward and learn from errors. “There are very some choices that are at high stakes, where errors are going to have significant outcomes,” explains Pichai. “It’s the incremental choices that lead to growth.”
Comprehend the big picture
Managing others needs giving them the feedback they require to hear but don’t desire to hear. At times, it indicates pushing them away from their comfort zone. Asking them to do something they haven’t done previously, and may not even consider themselves to be capable of. And if your aim is still to attempt and satisfy everyone, ask yourself this question:
If my team loses, or if the organization goes out of business, who will be pleased? Nobody, that’s who. So, if you wish to be a better leader, take learning from Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s playbook and question yourself: “What ties did I break this week?”