When is the Right Time to Take the Leap of Faith?

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We all have to make key decisions from time to time that we know will change the course of our lives, we hope for the better. A new job, marriage, health, relocating, kids… We can plan as much as possible, run the odds and calculate the pros and cons, but in the end, they all come down to a leap of faith.

 

I shared a few weeks ago my story of “accidental entrepreneurship,” and how I ended up with my first consulting contract while I was looking for a tenure-track faculty position, fifteen years ago. That was scary enough for starters.

 

But the real leap of faith happened five years later.

 

For those first five years, as I learned the ups and downs of running a business, I also maintained an adjunct (part time) faculty position at the University of Pennsylvania. Just one or two classes each semester, but it was stable and enough to keep a roof over my head during feast-or-famine periods.

 

The problem was that even teaching one day per week meant that I couldn’t speak at events or run training programs on that day – or the day before or after it, if it meant I had to travel on a class day. After a while, I was turning down more opportunities than I was accepting, to maintain a class that paid less than one tenth of what I was turning down.

 

It was time to make a decision: keep both teaching and consulting part time, knowing that my business would never be any bigger than it was at that moment, or “burn the boats,” i.e. quit teaching at the university and commit 100% to building my business. No going back.

 

I decided to take the leap of faith. Now, a decade later, I can safely say it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

 

Someone who took a similar – but arguably even bigger – leap of faith is Chris Hood, founder of CH Digital and former Head of Digital Strategy at none other than…Google.

 

This week on Speaking to Influence, Chis takes us on his journey and shares how he decided to leave his (lucrative, stable and happy) job as a senior executive at Google – a role which most people could only dream of attaining – to start his own venture.

 

More importantly, he shares the leadership communication lessons he learned at a juggernaut like Google, and how he has successfully applied them with his current and much smaller team at CH Digital.

 

 

He also provided a peek into the Google interview process, and a rather counterintuitive process they use to remove bias by involving a randomized selection of individuals from the organization to conduct the interviews instead of hiring managers.

 

Yes, that means an entry-level employee, fresh out of college, could be part of the selection process when hiring someone for the C-suite, and someone in marketing could be interviewing candidates for IT positions.

 

This practice, Chris asserts, has consistently proven effective in finding and nurturing a healthy workplace culture.

 

Why? Because while they may not be in charge of single-handedly assessing technical skill, they can, among other things, assess cultural fit, or as they call it, “Googliness.”

 

What’s the difference between “finding a good cultural fit” and “reinforcing group think”? Tune in and find out!

 

Chris also highlighted:

 

  • The importance of not getting complacent in jobs
  • How and why they emphasize the importance of open communication and psychological safety within organizations
  • The value of podcasting as a practice for improving communication skills and refining one’s message
  • Why effective communication is crucial for advancing ideas and strategies to meet customer needs

 

And more.

 

Listen to the full conversation here or watch the video on YouTube here.

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