Joshua Wood

Radical Candor by Kim Scott

Book notes from Radical Candor by Kim Scott


  • Two principles of Radical Candor:
    • A manager should personally care about their employees, and
    • challenge them in their work.
  • Be honest and direct.
  • Start by highlighting the good points when criticizing.
  • Avoid:
    • Manipulative Insincerity
      • Being lazy, not helping people improve
    • Ruinous Empathy
      • Misplaced fear of hurt fealings
  • If you really care, be honest. (Even if that means expressing criticism. Don’t sugar coat.)
  • Let people go for the right reasons (page 189). Do due diligence:
    • Make every effort to help them improve
    • Don’t let them negatively impact the team
    • Get an impartial 3rd-party opinion
  • Leadership should be collaborative:
    • Listen to what people say
    • Create time and space for people to develop ideas
    • Allow for healthy debate
    • Persuade your company that the team’s ideas are good
  • Two ways to listen (depending on your personality) (page 82):
    • Quietly
      • Tim Cook style
      • Silence encourages honesty
    • Loudly
      • Steve Jobs style
      • Make a strong statement, demand a strong response. Requires humility.
      • I assume this is what recently popularized Paul Saffo’s mantra, Strong Opinions, weakly held (page 85) 😁
  • Support the dreams/aspirations of your staff.
    • You must understand people to know what these are.
  • Conversations (page 174):
    • Life Story
    • Dream Job
    • 18-month Plan
  • Write a growth plan for each employee (and keep it updated)

Additional Notes

  • Think Time (page 209)
    • Block time to think, and hold that time sacred
    • An extremely successful—and busy—CEO I know fought this by blocking two hours of think time on his calendar every day. He wouldn’t move it for anyone.

  • “new ideas are fragile” —Jony Ive #Ideas #Business #Management
  • Ideas for 1:1 meetings (page 200)
  • Mastering reactions to others’ emotions (page 125)
  • The next time you spend two hours helping somebody edit an email until it’s just two sentences, don’t feel you are wasting your time. You are getting to the essence of the idea, which allows the recipient to absorb it quickly and easily. And you are teaching an invaluable skill. (page 93)

  • Blue Sky (created by Scott Forstall, who built iOS team at Apple)
    • Similar to Google’s 20-percent time
    • People came up with a project they wanted to work on and could apply to Blue Sky. If approved, they got two weeks off from their day job to further develop the idea. (page 91)

  • As the boss, you are the editor, not the author. (page 89)

  • Getting the Best Employee Ideas (page 86)
  • “Give the quiet ones a voice.” —Jony Ive #Quotes #Business #Management
  • Be careful not to label people as “high performers” (because performance output can change throughout your career). Better labels for reviews (page 74):
    • Off quarter
    • Solid quarter
    • Exceptional quarter
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