STANWOOD insights

Book review: Radical Candor - How to Get What You Want by Saying What You Mean - Kim Scott

Aug 13, 2019 10:37:53 AM / by Hannes Kleist

Our head of catering Hannes, reviews his favorite books.

This week Hannes read the a deeply inspiring book about how to treat people honestly but empathetically. 

Hannes is a people-pleaser. He hates conflict and wants everyone to feel great at all times. 

That comes at a high cost. We ruined projects and relationships both with team members and clients by being to "nice". 

This book gives a step-by-step guide on how to be candid but stay empathetic. 

1. BUILD RADICALLY CANDID RELATIONSHIPS: Bringing your whole self to work

Being the boss can feel like a lonely one-way street at times—
Once people know what it feels like to have a good boss, it’s more natural for them to want to be a good boss.

In fact, if nobody is ever mad at you, you probably aren’t challenging your team enough.
When what you say hurts, acknowledge the other person’s pain.
Eliminate the phrase “don’t take it personally” from your vocabulary—it’s insulting.
“If we have the data about what works, let’s look at the data, but if all we have are opinions, let’s use yours,” borrowing from Jim Barksdale of Netscape, but offering the opposite prescription.
Messages get measured at the listener’s ear, not at the speaker’s mouth.

2. GET, GIVE, AND ENCOURAGE GUIDANCE: Creating a culture of open communication

This Obnoxious Aggression sometimes gets great results short-term but leaves a trail of dead bodies in its wake in the long run. Bosses view employees as lesser beings who can be degraded without conscience;

3. UNDERSTAND WHAT MOTIVATES EACH PERSON ON YOUR TEAM: Helping people take a step in the direction of their dreams

To keep a team cohesive, you need both rock stars and superstars.

Only about five percent of people have a real vocation in life, and they confuse the hell out of the rest of us.

Below are four common “lies” managers tell themselves to avoid firing somebody:

1. It will get better. But of course it won’t get better all by itself. So stop and ask yourself: how, exactly, will it get better? What are you going to do differently? What will the person in question do differently? How might circumstances change? Even if things have gotten a little better, have they improved enough? If you don’t have a pretty precise answer to those questions, it probably won’t get better.

2. Somebody is better than nobody. Another common reason why bosses are reluctant to fire a poor performer is that they don’t want a “hole” on the team. If you fire “Jeffrey,” who will do the work he was doing? How long will it take you to find a replacement? The fact is that poor performers often create as much extra work for others as they accomplish themselves, because they leave parts of their job undone. It’s bad for morale. It’s also tempting to tell yourself that you’re not firing somebody because doing

4. DRIVE RESULTS COLLABORATIVELY: Telling people what to do doesn’t work

“There’s a fine line between success and failure.”
Telling people what to do didn’t work.
Jony Ive said that Steve would often come to him and say, “Jony, here’s a dopey idea...” He wasn’t quiet about his idea, but he was inviting Jony to challenge it by calling it dopey.

"strong opinions, weakly held.”
Go spelunking as the boss, you do have the right to delve into any details that seem interesting or important to you.

Persuasion at this stage can feel unnecessary and make the decider resentful of people on the team who aren’t fully in agreement.

But expecting others to execute on a decision without being persuaded that it’s the right thing to do is a recipe for terrible results.

She’d make us have debates as a team, but just before they started to feel tedious, she’d identify a “decider,” and ask that person to come back to the rest of us with a decision by a particular date.

6. GUIDANCE: Ideas for getting/giving/encouraging praise & criticism

Don’t let the formal processes—the 1: 1 meetings, annual or biannual performance reviews, or employee happiness surveys—take over. They are meant to reinforce, not substitute, what we do every day.

If you ask somebody to do work to help you prepare for a meeting or a presentation where that person won’t be present, be sure to let them know the reaction to their work.

Praise in public, criticize in private.

He stopped saying, “You’re wrong,” and instead learned to say, “I think that’s wrong.”

8. RESULTS: Things you can do to get stuff done together—faster

“BIG DEBATE” MEETINGS are reserved for debate, but not decisions, on major issues facing the team.

A good norm is to ask participants to switch roles halfway through each debate.

The company’s culture reflected his own personality too much. He was introverted; the company was introverted.

Buy the book here



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