Radical Candor

How to Get What You Want by Saying What You Mean


Kim Scott

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Two Dimensions of Radical Candor

  • Care Personally
  • Challenge Directly
  1. What what you say hurts, acknowledge the other person's pain. Don't pretend it doesn't hurt or say it "shouldn't" hurt.
Two Dimensions of Radical Candor

Obnoxious Aggression
  • Challenge directly without caring personally.
  • Generic praise; "Wow, sounds cool"
  • Arrogant criticism; "This proposal is a mess. I can't believe how many typos you missed. I know some of your work can be subpar but this is something else"
  • These kinds of feedbacks are not helpful.
Manipulative Insincerity
  • When trying to avoid disagreements and don't care enough to confront.
  • Comes in form of false apologies, insincere agreements, passive-aggressive.
  • "Maybe this proposal needs to be refined a bit, but of course, you know the project better than I do, so you can make that call. Overall it looks really great"
Ruinous Empathy
  • Care too much to be straightforward.
  • Saying "You did great" even when that person didn't.

Giving Radically Candid Guidance

  • Focus on the reality of the situation, not your perception
  1. Framing the guidance around the situation, the person's behaviour, and the outcomes
  2. Example
  3. Instead of "You're bad at time management"
  4. Say "I asked you to draft the client's proposal (situation). You worked on less urgent projects until just before the deadline, then threw together a proposal full of typos (behaviour). We've likely lost that client's trust"
  • Helpfulness
  1. Make your intentions clear–you're giving criticism to help, not to be hurtful.
  2. Be as precise as possible–clearly tell them what to do more or less of.
  • Public praise, private criticism
  • Don't personalise
  1. Make sure your criticism targets the issue, rather than the person
  2. Instead of "You're careless"
  3. Say "There are too many typos in your reports"

Managing Ambitions and Growth

  • Five performance and growth trajectory combinations
  • High performance with gradual growth
  1. These are your "rock stars"
  2. The solid forces who keep things running smoothly.
  3. They are not looking for significant growth–happy where they are.
  4. Support them by recognising their efforts
  • High performance with rapid growth
  1. These are your "superstars"
  2. who want to move up the ranks and are prepared to dedicate the necessary time and energy to doing so.
  3. They are results-driven
  4. Support them by keeping them challenged with projects and new responsibilities.
  • Low performance with expected rapid growth
  1. These are team members, who based on their past track record of high performance, should be excelling on the new project.
  2. Maybe this person is not in the right role, change to a suitable role or provide proper training.
  3. Or maybe they are having problems outside work, give them space to recover.
  • Mediocre
  1. Do okay, but not great work.
  2. Take care of them fast, otherwise, your high-performers will become resentful.
  • Low performance with no growth
  1. Let this person go
  2. So they can find a different job they will thrive in.

Creating Growth Plans

  • The life conversation; what is important to them, what do they value in life
  • The dream conversation; what do they ultimately want out of their career and life.
  • The planning conversation; focus on finding ways to make their current work clearly translate to preparation for their dreams.

Effective Collaboration

Seven steps to effective collaboration

  • Listening
  1. There are two types of listening
  2. Quiet listening
  3. allows space in the conversation for the other person to speak their mind.
  4. Loud Listening
  5. involves putting a strong challenge on the table for discussion.
  • Clarifying
  1. Unclear, half-baked ideas are likely to be dismissed or rejected when presented to others.
  2. Refine the idea until it's impossible for any audience to misunderstand.
  3. Understand who you will be presenting to, and which details are relevant and captivating
  • Debating
  1. Keep debating separate from deciding
  2. Redirecting the conversation when it becomes clear that someone's arguing to "win" instead of to make a good decision
  3. Asking team members to argue the opposite side of the argument in the second of the debate
  • Deciding
  1. It's time to stop discussing and start deciding.
  2. The decision-makers should be those who are close to the facts surrounding a situation.
  3. The outcome should be a meeting summary that's sent out to relevant team members to explain the decision.
  • Persuading
  1. Call an all-hands meeting to persuade eyeone to the idea–so that no one feels left in the dark.
  2. These meetings consist of a presentation and a Q&A session
  • Executing
  • Learning