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In 4 Words, Google CEO Sundar Pichai Gave the Simplest Advice on How to Lead




Pichai is encouraging leaders and parents to dive into the deep well of intrinsic motivation.

Parents, imagine this: Your kid has given a test for which they’ve been preparing. Do you generally wait for the good results before you take them out for ice cream?

Imagine this: Your employee has been working for long hours on a report. Do you wait to examine its final quality before you acknowledge its effort?

If you answered yes to either of those, you would have to rethink your strategy.

Sundar Pichai said four words encapsulating years of analysis on the psychology of human motivation in a commencement speech at Stanford: “Reward efforts, not outcomes.”

Here, he is trying to create sources of intrinsic motivation. It suggests motivating people to try and do something because they honestly enjoy it, love the challenge, or find it intriguing instead of seeking an award (or avoiding a punishment).

In other words, it makes results irrelevant.

It may sound unreasonable. After all, what’s in it for you? What do you need? Is that the decent test marks or that excellent report, right?
Think one more time. Science backs the intrinsic route. Here’s why you must too. Your staff and your kids will thank you for it.

Your staff (and kids) can procrastinate less.
It is all well and intelligent to evangelize a results-driven approach – till you want to live it.

The environments sometimes set the external thresholds against which we measure the worth we are in. So, when we become so targeted on the goal and the precise steps required to attain it, we fall into the Socially Prescribed Perfectionism (SPP) trap.

Research shows that SPP is connected to depression, test anxiety, and a low probability of help-seeking.

Your staff (and kids) can think outside the box.
We are more likely to take risks when our efforts are rewarded instead of the outcome.
That is how innovation is born.

Why? When the outcome does not judge our performance, we tend to feel more assured in pushing ourselves and trying something new.

It is no surprise that through rewarding efforts and not outcomes, Google was one of the first corporations to be carbon-neutral (2007) long before sustainable practices debuted in the mainstream.

Your staff (and kids) are motivated — and will stay motivated
When motivated by rewards, life becomes a straightforward equation: Do X amount of work and get Y reward. The issue with this is that it can bypass the requirement for introspection. And that is precisely where the magic lies.

Focusing on what motivates us concerning what we do – how we are invested in it emotionally, how much interested we are in it, how it contributes to whom we wish to become — is an endless loop and is thus a more sustainable kind of motivation.

That is a motivational sweet spot. You discover your staff, teams, and kids who are happy, healthy, productive, and satisfied.