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Radical Candor - Summary and Action Guide


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What is the new approach to effective management that we can learn from a CEO guru of Silicon Valley?

Radical Candor is a simple framework that can help you build better relationships at work, and fulfill your three key responsibilities as a leader: creating a culture of feedback (praise and criticism), building a cohesive team, and achieving results you’re all proud of.

You don’t need to read the whole book. Check out this summary and action guide with the best lessons from Radical Candor that you can start applying right away to build your winning team.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Radical Candor - Summary and Action Guide

  1. 1. All of us at Sprynkl hope you enjoy this free ebook.  Visit our website to learn more about our app at ​  Or follow us for more resources ​Twitter​ | ​Facebook​ | ​LinkedIn​ | ​YouTube  We also curate a newsletter of leadership resources ​Subscribe  ​ Page 1 of 21​ ​Tweet this eBook
  2. 2. Table of Contents       Introduction 3  Part 1: A New Management Philosophy 4  0.5 second summary 4  409 word summary 5  Skeleton summary 7  Take Action 11  Part 2: Tools & Techniques 1​2  0.5 second summary 1​2  390 word summary 1​3  Skeleton Summary 1​6  Take Action 20  Conclusion 21                    ​ Page 2 of 21​ ​Tweet this eBook
  3. 3. Introduction  We made this for people who  (A) Are busy.  (B) Want to be better leaders.    Maybe that’s you. Or you’re thinking about buying Kim Scott’s bestseller and this is part of your                                  research. Or you’re just curious.    In any case, thank you for trusting us​. We know that there’s ​a ton ​of information out there, and                                      it’s a full-time job to try to sort through it. I hope that this can help you use your time better.    Kim Scott’s bestseller is 272 pages. This summary & action guide is 21. And those pages                                include Pinterest-ready quotes (go ahead and steal them so you look super motivated :D) and                              Sprynkl’s unique skeleton summaries (a few words on a lot of lines).    This summary & action guide is special because it’s our first. But it’s not going to be our last.    If you want to be the first to hear about more free resources we produce, be sure to subscribe                                      to our ​newsletter​. And, of course, feel free to share this resource with other leaders who might                                  enjoy it.    Thank you again for your time. Let me know if there are any books you’d like to see summarized                                      next ;).          All the best,    Nick Santalucia   ​ Page 3 of 21​ ​Tweet this eBook
  4. 4.   Part 1    A New Management  Philosophy  She’s the CEO guru of Silicon Valley. She’s on TED. And she wrote the bestselling book.    In ​Radical Candor​, Kim Scott makes a strong case for her ​direct yet compassionate approach to                                management that can help you get results without “losing your humanity.” Part 1 lays out the                                philosophy in clear terms with a lot examples.    0.5 second summary  Radical Candor ​=leadership philosophy by Kim Scott.  To be radically candid, team leaders must  ● care personally​ about their team members  ● challenge​ them ​directly​.  ○ On their ​work​, not ​who ​they are     ​ Page 4 of 21​ ​Tweet this eBook
  5. 5. 409 word summary  Radical Candor is caring enough for your team that you’re honest with them. To be radically                                candid then, you must care and be honest.     Caring means taking the time to find out what each team member wants from his or her role. It                                      also means staying up-to-date with their lives to the point of knowing when this changes. For                                example, an employee may need increased financial security, and thus willing to take on more                              challenges to secure it. Or an employee may need to spend more time at home, and so are                                    looking to slow down at work.    You must appreciate each of these people differently, including your expectations of them, and                            the rewards you offer them. For example, someone who is happy with their current position will                                not appreciate a promotion.     Being honest means providing the praise and criticism your employees need to do their best                              work. Both praise and criticism must be ​specific ​and focused on the ​why ​of the situation. For                                  example, it’s not enough to say that someone is “smart.” Better to give an example of something                                  that impressed you (“She explained that concept so well…”) and why it mattered (“that our                              clients felt comfortable using it.”)    In the first part of ​Radical Candor​, Scott devotes a lot of space to delivering criticism well.                         ​ Page 5 of 21​ ​Tweet this eBook
  6. 6. [Quick Bite] For your next meeting    Some advice from Radical Candor: contextual and specific advice is more meaningful. Answer why                            something was good or bad, and what the outcome was.      For one, building strong relationships makes this easier. This way, you know how to best                              approach someone. In some cases, people love being challenged are fine with mixing in some                              profanity. Others not at all. It’s your job to know where you stand with your team members.    Finally, Scott outlines an ideal process for “driving results collaboratively.”    It is    Listen → Clarify → Debate → Decide → Persuade →                    Execute → Learn → And back to Listen  ​ Page 6 of 21​ ​Tweet this eBook
  7. 7.   Essentially, ensure that you know what your team is thinking and why (and also what ​you ​are                                  thinking). Then refine those ideas until they are succinct and easily understood. After that you                              still must open up the topic for debate. (It’s important that your team be open to debate! Be                                    clear about the process’ goals and explain ​why ​it’s so important for everyone to point out flaws                                  they see.) When the debate has ended, based on facts -- ​not recommendations ​-- make a                                decision. Once you have a decision, persuade your entire team of its merits using emotion,                              credibility, and logic (or, as Aristotle would say, pathos, ethos, and logos). Then do it as                                efficiently as possible, and make sure to learn from the experience through self and group                              reflection.    [Quick Bite] For an interview      Skeleton summary    Bring your whole self to work    ​ Page 7 of 21​ ​Tweet this eBook
  8. 8. B/c how can you pretend otherwise -- you are ​you ​no matter where you are!    2 big parts of Radical Candor (Rad Can) =  1. Care personally  Must care in order to know team members  ● What do they want from work?  ● What changes in life will change what they want from work?  You have to get comfy being hated :| )  2. Challenge directly  Anything less hurts everyone!  ● You challenge b/c you care  It’s OK to hurt people -- it happens -- but then help fix problem    All this changes depending on context!  Eg, OK to use bad words on some teams, ​not​ OK on others      Dishing it out and taking it -- not necessarily in that order  Famous story about Sheryl Sandberg -- “Um”  ● Sandberg ​cared​, so she helped fix it.    Rad Can ​does not equal​ criticizing someone’s personality    PRAISE 🙌   ● Make specific, contextual  ○ Why ​is x trait good?    CRITICISM 😱   ● Better for everyone to make it, and make it direct  ● Do not ​be nasty  ○ Though gets results (OK), bad for morale, etc (BAD)  ● To make Rad Can happen  ​ Page 8 of 21​ ​Tweet this eBook
  9. 9. ○ ASK your team for it = fostering environment  If nasty to you = OK  If nasty to each other, fix that!  Always acknowledge and celebrate when people share feedback  ● ⛔ NO “feedback sandwich”  ● The one and only, Steve Jobs:  ○ CRINGELY: What does it mean when you tell someone their work is shit?  ○ JOBS: It usually means their work is shit. Sometimes it means, “I think                          your work is shit. And I—I’m wrong… The most important thing I think you                            can do for somebody who’s really good and who’s really being counted on                          is to point out to them when they’re not—when their work isn’t good                          enough. And to do it very clearly and to articulate why … and to get them                                back on track.  ● Great example of Rad Can feedback = co-worker’s fly down  ○ Like them too much to embarrass them?  = BAD for them!  ○ Instead, whisper, let them know  ○ Relationships are key to making criticism work (and making it easier!)      Caring about = understanding your team  GREAT story about architect Christopher Wren, while building St Paul’s Cathedral  ● He asks 3 workers what they’re doing  1: “working”  2: “building a wall”  3: “making a temple of the Almighty”  ● Lesson: ​everybody gets something different out of work    Is member happy + doing well where they are?  ● Then keep them there!    Is member trying to move on up?  ● Then help!  ​ Page 9 of 21​ ​Tweet this eBook
  10. 10.   Cannot put own needs before your team members’    Cannot just focus on the hot 🔥 shots    Need to recognize the slow n’ steady folks  ● But not with promotion  = make special expert roles for them?    If ambitious, challenge them, but ​don’t ​try to keep them    Know when to say “bye” 👋   ● Already told them what needed to happen?  ● Still nothing?  ● …     [Tons of great situations+examples in the book here]        Tell people what to do = wrong approach!  Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer: Give the quiet ones a voice  ● = ​All ​are heard  ● == ​You ​stay silent  ○ There are risks! Because people don’t know    Must be ​clear ​on what you want to do  ● Give people time + space to develop clarity  ○ Eg, hack weeks, brainstorming sessions (with critique!)  ● Must “tumble” ideas via debate  ○ Good idea = switch roles in debate  Now argue ​against ​your idea  ● Get facts to decide, ​not ​recommendations  ​ Page 10 of 21​ ​Tweet this eBook
  11. 11.   ● To persuade team use ethos, pathos, and logos  ● Do it,​ and then learn from it  It’s OK to change your mind, if the facts have changed.      Take Action  As a leader, you need to care about your team. This will make it easier to manage them (as you’ll                                        know what they’re looking for in work) and have radically candid conversations with them.    When you praise and criticize, make it specific and explain why your feedback is important.     Remember, while it may be awkward to be very honest about something (such as body odor), by                                  telling a team member about it, ​you are showing that you care.     That’s ​what makes you a great boss. :)          Be the first to get more free resources from ​​. ​Sign up for our newsletter​.        ​ Page 11 of 21​ ​Tweet this eBook
  12. 12. Part 2  Tools & Techniques  A team of motivated, purpose-driven employees. Who trust each other to give direct, honest                            feedback (that works). Sounds great, doesn’t it?    That’s exactly what Kim Scott helps you achieve in the second part of her bestselling book,                                Radical Candor.         0.5 second summary  ● Make your team criticize ​you​ so everyone criticizes each other (in a caring way)  ● Get your team members closer to their dreams in their current positions                    ​ Page 12 of 21​ ​Tweet this eBook
  13. 13. [Quick Bite] For a dinner party      To be most effective at optimizing the flow of the chemicals oxytocin and serotonin—which boost mood                                and promote bonding—hold a hug for at least six seconds, Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project        390 word summary  Scott offers ​a ton of tools and “what-if” scenarios to help you create a radically candid (and                                  therefore happy and productive) team.    ​ Page 13 of 21​ ​Tweet this eBook
  14. 14. I won’t go through them one-by-one, but will give you the bigger picture of how Scott approaches                                  building a better team.    The first area for you to focus on is your relationships with your team​. But in order to do that,                                        you first need to get your own head on straight. Do that by making time for yourself and                                    prioritizing your favorite calming activity (reading, exercising, spending time with your family,                        etc.)    Once you’re “centered,” you’ll be more in control of your emotions and better able to deal with                                  the emotions of others.    Overall, Scott recommends simultaneously acknowledging how other people feel (as opposed                      to telling them how to feel) while avoiding becoming beholden to their emotions. Scott tells a                                great story of how she handled a woman who used to come into her office every week to cry:                                      Scott stopped keeping tissues in her office.    Having these strong relationships makes the next area, guidance, much easier​.     Another great story that she tells, which sums up the benefits of radical candor, is how she                                  handled a team member whose body odor was interfering with her team’s performance. ​Scott                            did not make the matter personal ​-- she kept the focus on her team. The woman understood,                                  improved, and later thanked Scott for it.                          ​ Page 14 of 21​ ​Tweet this eBook
  15. 15. [Quick Bite] For your next interview      The next area to understand is your team​. In the video above I talk about what is, in my opinion,                                        the most interesting and actionable advice of the book: the 3 conversations you need to have                                with your team members to get them more motivated. This series of conversations lead to the                                most dramatic turnaround of team morale in Google history. (I also outline them in the skeleton                                summary below.)    Finally, it’s time to get results​. Scott’s basic approach to work involves starting small (1:1                              meetings), and slowly working your way up to a staff meeting, then a big debate, then a                                  decision. After that, you still need to persuade your team that it’s the best course of action, and                                    then ​let them work ​-- that is, ​no meetings​. Then, ensure that everyone has learned from the                                  process and begin again. (This mirrors the “get stuff done without telling people what to do”                                chart from part 1.)        ​ Page 15 of 21​ ​Tweet this eBook
  16. 16.   Skeleton Summary    People (including you) have lots of feelings  Most important relationship = ​with yourself!  ● Do not try to separate real/work self -- you are you everywhere  ○ Especially during high stress times  Find what “centers” you and make it a priority during high stress     Don’t be dictator  ● Always ​show ​why something’s best, don’t just ​say  ● Google is great ex of this  ○ Even co-founder doesn’t have authority over teams!    Socializing at work  ● Necessary  ● But tricky  ○ Booze = bad idea  ○ Mandatory fun = fun??  ● Slowly build trust   ○ This has close relationship to caring personally    Don’t assume values  ● Writing on paper gets awkward  ○ better to just live them through work    Fun fact: Best hugging time = 6 seconds      ​ Page 16 of 21​ ​Tweet this eBook
  17. 17. Emotions  ● First must know own  ○ If bad, own them, let others know you’re having tough day  ● Manage others’  ○ Don’t put own expectations/requests on them  “​Don’t feel X​”            ​ Page 17 of 21​ ​Tweet this eBook
  18. 18. Make feedback easier with “culture of guidance”  First step = ​you ​get guidance from your team  ● Tough b/c preconceptions of “boss”  ● Make it OK to criticize you in public  ○ (But not OK to do to others)  ○ Show that you want it!  Funny story about Sheryl Sandberg, after Facebook’s IPO.                Demanded (nicely) personal feedback from a banker. Wouldn’t let                  him go until she got it.  ● So ask more specific questions, eg, where you need help  ○ Ask and then wait 1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6…   ● Then reward when you get it    Cool idea = “Management ‘Fix-it’ Week”  ● What processes annoy people?        Guidance can be less awkward with Radical Candor  Humble, helpful, fast  ● Focus on ​what was going on, what the person did, what happened because of it  ● Accept that people see things differently   ○ Eg:    ​ Page 18 of 21​ ​Tweet this eBook
  19. 19. ● Don’t spend an hour on it -- 2-3 minutes = OK!  ● In person always best  ○ Pls no texts    To get better at giving guidance, track how you’re doing  ● Too nice (not saying what matters)? Too mean (not caring personally)?    Radical candor with boss?  ● Don’t get 🔥 !  ● First, ask for feedback  ● Talk about Radical Candor  ○ Ask permission to do so    Gender differences introduce bias  ● Females often seen as nastier when doing the same as men  ○ Imagine switch genders?    Peer feedback can be powerful  ● Can also help boss track what’s going on  ○ Again, make it a culture        Understanding = Better team. Radical Candor = Understanding  3 conversations to motivation  1. “What’s your life story?”  ● See how they live values  ○ Then, tell them what you see  2. “What’s your dream?”  ● Get 4-5  ○ So you see ​real ​one in fourth or fifth  ● “What skills do you need to achieve that?”  ● Do these line up with values?  ​ Page 19 of 21​ ​Tweet this eBook
  20. 20. ○ If not -- ask about it  3. “18 month plan”  ● How can we help you get those skills?  Boom!  ● A team motivated by their dreams.    Take Action  The repeating theme I saw in Part 2 of ​Radical Candor ​was ​starting small​. Which makes a lot of                                      sense.    Instead of unrolling a massive new and “perfect” feedback system, just own up to an area where                                  you’ve been failing, and ask for guidance from your team. Eventually, if you keep at it and reward                                    the right behavior, that’s going to naturally develop into a culture of feedback.    Similarly, asking people for big and lofty values, isn’t as effective as just asking what they’ve                                already done. And talking about something real -- not ideals -- tells you a lot more anyway. ;)        Be the first to get more free resources from ​​. ​Sign up for our newsletter​.    ​ Page 20 of 21​ ​Tweet this eBook
  21. 21. Conclusion  Caring + Honesty = The best results from your team.    And it’s best to start caring right away. So ask your team members where they come from and                                    what they want to do. What they have to do outside of work, too.    With this context, you’ll know what kind of feedback to provide (are they trying to advance or                                  happy to get really good at what they do?) and you’ll know how to deliver it (can you joke around                                        or should you be more serious?)    Remember: giving feedback well, no matter how awkward it is, shows you care and moves                              your team forward.    To do this best, start small. Start with the tangible. Start with what you can do.    Don’t expect your team to receive feedback well until you have. So get them to critique your                                  performance. Of course, make sure to set boundaries (eg, team members get feedback in                            private, focus on the outcome of an action ​not ​the person who did it), but ensure that your team                                      is always improving.        Be the first to get more free resources from ​​. ​Sign up for our newsletter​.    ​ Page 21 of 21​ ​Tweet this eBook