Kim Scott: Radical Candor, How to Say What You Mean Without Being A Jerk
Kim Scott: Radical Candor, How to Say What You Mean Without Being A Jerk
[00:00:00] Voice-over: Did you know podcast spending will surpass 2 billion by the end of the year. Why? Because it reaches thousands of listeners. If you want people to hear your ad about your brand and service or product, you need to go to podbean.com/brands to reach a new targeted audience each time they listen to their favorite podcast.
[00:00:21] That's P-O-D-B-E-A-N.com/brands.
[00:00:39] Kim Scott: There's an order of operations to radical candor, and it all starts with soliciting feedback, and that's true no matter what your role is, but it's especially true for managers. It gives you an opportunity to lead by example to prove that feedback really is a gift, and to show people how to respond well to it.
[00:00:57] How to reward the candor when you get it [00:01:00] by either fixing the problem or explaining why you disagree. Bias, prejudice and bullying are three different things, but we tend to conflate them as though they're the same thing. Bias is not meaning it. Prejudice is meaning it, and bullying. There's no belief, conscious or unconscious going on at all.
[00:01:19] It's just being mean for me. Just breaking it apart has offered different kind of responses that we can make.
[00:01:30] Hala Taha: What is up Young and Profiters? You are listening to YAP Young and Profiting Podcast, where we interview the brightest minds in the world and unpack their wisdom into actionable advice that you can use in your daily life. I'm your host, Hal Taha. Thanks for tuning in and get ready to listen, learn and profit.[00:02:00]
[00:02:02] Kim, welcome to Young and Profiting podcast.
[00:02:05] Kim Scott: Thank you so much. It's great to be on the show.
[00:02:08] Hala Taha: I am really excited we've been wanting to have you on Yung and Profiting podcast for a few years now. YAP Fam, we are joined by Kim Scott. She's an experienced CEO who worked for a variety of Silicon Valley companies, including Twitter, Dropbox, and Google.
[00:02:21] She's a former faculty member of Apple University and the current CEO of Candor Incorporated a company she co-founded to provide more resources for managers and bosses in need of support. She's also the bestselling author of two books, Radical Candor, and Just Work. In this episode, Kim and I will talk about how to instill radical candor in a workplace environment, both as a boss and an employee.
[00:02:42] She'll teach us what it means to care personally and challenge directly while avoiding toxic behaviors, and we'll also discuss her latest book, Just Work and how we can get shit done fast and fair. So Kim, I'm super happy you're here. Let's jump right into it. You have a very impressive corporate background.
[00:02:58] You've made a name for [00:03:00] yourself in Silicon Valley as a business leader and tech executive, but some people may not know that. Before that, you worked at a diamond cutting factory in Russia when the Soviet Union collapsed, and so I'd love to understand how that job played a pivotal role in your future career and how it led you into career management ultimately.
[00:03:18] Kim Scott: That was such an important experience for me because I in college, studied literature. And I thought business was boring, intellectually uninteresting. I thought the only thing was you paid people and they did work, but reading books and writing books doesn't pay. So I wound up taking a job for this diamond cutting factory, this diamond cutting company, and they wanted me to start up a factory in Moscow.
[00:03:42] And so I had to go and hire these Russian diamond cutters and I thought it was gonna be really easy because the ruble was collapsing, the dollar was really strong. This was in 1992. And I thought I would just pay them and they would come. And so I offered them this salary that was like [00:04:00] 15 or 20 times what they were currently making.
[00:04:02] But they didn't immediately take the job. They wanted a picnic. So I thought, huh, I can do a picnic too. And so we went out into the outskirts of Moscow and by the time we got finished with a bottle of vodka. I realized that what I had to offer that the state did not have to offer was not just money.
[00:04:21] It was to give a damn. It was to understand that they were worried about an unstable situation and they wanted to know they, that they had a boss who cared enough about them to get them and their families out if things went sideways in Russia. As you can imagine, since the invasion of Ukraine, I've been thinking a lot about these folks.
[00:04:44] That was the moment when I realized management matters. And it's interesting and it's a big part of what I care about. It's a big part of creating environments in which we can all love our work in each other.
[00:04:57] Hala Taha: I love that. And how did you make your way to Silicon [00:05:00] Valley eventually?
[00:05:01] Kim Scott: It was a circuitous path.
[00:05:03] After about four years living in Russia, I went to business school and after business school I took a job at the Federal Communications Commission. I was definitely the only person in my class at business school who took a job working for the federal government. But I was really interested in communication and how we as a world could communicate better.
[00:05:25] After about a year working in the federal government, I realized it had been designed to do nothing in the absence of a compelling reason to do something. And I found that very frustrating. So I went the opposite direction and took a job for an Israeli startup, that was doing voiceover IP. And I spent about a year working for this company called Delta three, and working actually with Noam Bardin, who wound up starting Waze later on.
[00:05:52] Hala Taha: Wow.
[00:05:52] Kim Scott: Small world. And then I decided that I had made enough money, I'd saved up enough [00:06:00] money. The company did well to write a novel, which was what I always wanted to do. I never, my whole business career was a giant plot to subsidize my novel writing habits. So I took 1990, the year 1999 off, and I wrote a novel and then I ran outta money.
[00:06:16] So I joined another startup, and while I was at that startup, I had an idea for my own startup. So I wound up starting this company called Juice Software, and it was collaboration software that ended basically our biggest, some of our biggest customers were in the World, World Trade Center. So that company basically ended on nine 11, although we limped along for a little while and sold the company sell being a very generous term for what actually happened.
[00:06:47] And then I took a job at Google that worked out a lot better than the failed startup. And after about six years at Google, I realized that the thing that got me outta bed in the morning was not [00:07:00] so much cost per click, although that was going very well at Google, but building a team and creating the structures so that the team would, to the maximum extent possible, self-organized, but being present and available to be thought partners for each of the people on the team.
[00:07:19] Each of my direct reports anyway, and that was interesting to me, like creating those environments. It goes back to that diamond cutting story where what they really wanted was a boss who cared and who would set up a good environment. And I wanted that to be my full-time job, not leading AdSense, YouTube and double click sales and operations, which was what I spent most of my time doing.
[00:07:39] And there wasn't really a role at Google for me to do that, but my favorite professor from business school had become a member of the faculty at Apple University. And at that point he called me up and he said, Steve Jobs has decided he wants to throw away all of Apple's management training and start from a blank piece of paper.
[00:07:59] [00:08:00] And he said, those of us at Apple University we're professors. We haven't actually managed anything, so why don't you come and help us? So I did that for a couple of years and then I wound up becoming a CEO coach in writing Radical Candor.
[00:08:14] Hala Taha: It's a really interesting career journey, and what I really like about your career journey is how.
[00:08:19] Even though, like for instance with writing novels, you weren't making money doing it, but it was something that you decided to still get the experience and now you are a bestselling author. Mind you, it's nonfiction business books, but you get to utilize that passion in a different way and make money doing what you love.
[00:08:34] So it sounds like you've really designed a career. That you really enjoy. So I respect that a lot.
[00:08:40] Kim Scott: Thank you. I don't really feel like I designed it. I feel like it emerged, but I'm very happy with where I am. Yes.
[00:08:47] Hala Taha: That's awesome. Okay, so let's talk about when you were head of Google at AdSense.
[00:08:51] You worked under Sheryl Sandberg, she's the author of Lean In very popular book. And after you gave a presentation to Google's founders and CEOs, one day she asked you [00:09:00] to come back to the office and she gave you some pretty hard advice. Talk to us about that story and how it inspired you to write the book Radical Candor.
[00:09:08] Kim Scott: So I had on that day to give a presentation about how the AdSense business was doing to the founders and the CEO. And I walked, I'll never forget it, I walked into the room and there in one corner was one of the founders on an elliptical trainer kind of stepping away wearing toe shoes and a bright blue span ax unitard, not what I was expecting or frankly wanting to see.
[00:09:33] In the room, like super tight. And there in the, it was like something from the circle. And there in the other corner of the room was the CEO doing his email. And it was like his brain had been plugged into his machine. And probably all of your listeners, in such a situation, I felt a little bit nervous.
[00:09:52] How was I supposed to get these people's attention? Luckily for me, the AdSense business was on fire. And when I said how many new customers we [00:10:00] had added over the last couple of months, the CEO looked at me and he said, this is incredible. What do you need? Do you need more marketing dollars? Do you need more engineers?
[00:10:09] So I'm thinking the go meeting's going all right. In fact, I now believe that I am a genius. I walked out of the room, I walked past Sheryl, and I'm expecting a high five a pat on the back, and instead she says to me, why don't you walk back to my office with me? And I thought, oh wow. I messed something up in there.
[00:10:27] And I'm sure I'm about to hear about it, but I was open to hearing about it because. Sheryl had already done the work of soliciting feedback from me and rewarding my candor and like proving to me that feedback was a gift. It's a gift, but are you sure you really want that gift? So I was a little reluctant and she began starting the conversation by telling me what I had done.
[00:10:49] Not what I had done wrong, not in the feedback sandwich. I think there's a less polite term for that. I don't know if I'm allowed to curse on your podcast, but really seeming to mean what she said. And [00:11:00] so that was fine, but all I wanted to hear about of course, was what I had done wrong. And eventually she said to me, you said I'm a lot in there.
[00:11:08] Were you aware of it? And with this, I breathed a huge sigh of relief and I made a brush off gesture with my hand because if that was all I had done wrong, who really cared? I said, I know it's a verbal tick. It's no big deal, really. And then she said to me, I know this great speech coach. I bet Google would pay for it.
[00:11:23] Would you like an introduction? And once again, I made this brush off gesture with my hand and I said, no, I'm busy. I don't have time for a speech coach. Didn't you hear about all those new customers? And then she stopped. She looked me right in the eye and she said, I can tell when you do that thing with your hand. I'm gonna have to be a lot more direct with you.
[00:11:44] When you say every third word, it makes you sound stupid. Now she's got my full attention. And some people might say it was mean of her to say that I sounded stupid. But the fact of the matter was if she hadn't used just those words with me, and by [00:12:00] the way, this is a really important point, she never would've used those words with other people on her team, who were perhaps a better listener than I was.
[00:12:08] But she knew me well enough to know that if she didn't use just those words with me, I wouldn't go visit the speech coach. And when I did, I learned that. Sheryl was not exaggerating. I literally said every third word, and this was news to me because I'd raised money, millions of dollars for two different startups giving presentations.
[00:12:28] I thought I was pretty good at it. I realized, I felt like all of a sudden I had been marching through my whole career with the giant hunger of spinach between my teeth, and nobody had the common courtesy to tell me it was there. And this really got me to thinking, what was it about Sheryl that made it so seemingly easy for her to tell me?
[00:12:50] Although of course it wasn't easy and why had no one else told me no. I could get the spinach, I could fix the problem if anybody had the common courtesy to tell me. And as I thought [00:13:00] about Sheryl's management style, I realized it boiled down to two pretty basic seeming things. She cared personally and she challenged directly.
[00:13:09] I knew that she cared about me, not just as an employee but as a human being because she would do things like when I moved from New York to California to take the job, I got out here and I was lonely cuz I didn't know anyone out here and she could tell I was lonely. And she introduced me to a book group.
[00:13:27] I'm still friends with a number of those people to this day, when a couple of months after I started the job, my father was diagnosed with late stage cancer and I was devastated. And she could tell that I was devastated. And she said, Kim, you need to go to the airport right now, fly home to Memphis, be with your family, your team and I will write your coverage plan.
[00:13:51] That's what great teams do for one another. We've got your back. And those were the kinds of things she did do just for me. She did for everyone who worked directly [00:14:00] with her. She couldn't of course do those kinds of things for all 5,000 people in her organization because no matter how talented you are, relationships don't scale.
[00:14:09] But culture does scale. And when a leader treats their direct reports with that kind of care. It's much more likely that their direct reports are in turn, gonna treat their direct reports with real care. And that builds a caring culture. And culture does scale, but it wasn't all sunshine and roses.
[00:14:27] I also knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if I screwed up as I was bound to do from time to time, Sheryl would tell me in no uncertain terms. She would challenge me very directly and care personally challenged directly. That doesn't really sound so radical, that combination. And yet, Everyone I've ever worked with, including myself, has struggled with feedback at work and in my personal life as well.
[00:14:53] That's why I call it that combination radical candor, cuz it's rare.
[00:14:58] Hala Taha: So when it comes to caring [00:15:00] personally, I just wanna point something out. It's going beyond just caring about somebody's career trajectory or their career dreams. It's actually caring about their life. Is that right?
[00:15:08] Kim Scott: Yeah. Caring about like building a real relationship. A relationship between a boss and an employee is, it's not a friendship, better not be a romance, but it is a human relationship.
[00:15:22] And I think sometimes because it's not a friendship, because it doesn't fall into the usual categories of relationship, we pretend as though it's just professional, that it's not a real relationship. But that is a big mistake because it's more than professional. It's very deeply human. And there's increasingly, there's evidence that shows that command and control just doesn't work very well, especially if you're, if you need to innovate.
[00:15:50] But any kind of industry actually command of and control doesn't work very well. And so you really, basically the most fundamental [00:16:00] part of being a good boss is a good relationship with each of your direct reports. That's how you get stuff done. And I think that is, has been under, I think it's more and more these days appreciated, but I think traditionally in traditional management training, that was underappreciated.
[00:16:17] Hala Taha: So earlier you mentioned that Sheryl used to solicit feedback from her team, and because she did that it actually made you more receptive to the feedback she was giving you because I guess it made you feel less attacked, because she was open to getting feedback herself. Could you explain to us why that's important as a manager to solicit feedback from her team?
[00:16:36] Kim Scott: Yes.
[00:16:37] There's an order of operations to radical candor, and it all starts with soliciting feedback. And that's true no matter what your role is. But it's especially true for managers because there's a power imbalance if you're a manager. And there are a few things that are more damaging to a good relationship than a power imbalance.
[00:16:57] And so when you have the power to the maximum [00:17:00] extent possible. You need to lay it down and get on a level playing field with your people so that you can build that relationship. And soliciting feedback is part of that. Soliciting feedback is also important because it gives you an opportunity to lead by example to prove that feedback really is a gift, and to show people how to respond well to it.
[00:17:23] How to reward the candor when you get it. It's also really important because in Amy Edmondson, who coined the term psychological safety, and I have written about this, it's also true because when a leader solicits feedback. It creates the conditions for psychological safety, where people feel that they can speak up.
[00:17:43] Hala Taha: Let's hold that thought and take a quick break with our sponsors.
[00:17:48] YAP Fam. Let's talk about entrepreneurship. There's so much fear around starting a business. People will tell you it's too risky that most businesses fail, that you'll lose all your money. But let me tell you, [00:18:00] starting a profitable business is a lot easier when you have access to free educational resources like the Millionaire University Podcast.
[00:18:08] The Millionaire University Podcast will teach you the ins and outs of running a successful business with concrete, actionable advice. Hosts Justin and Tara Williams have built multimillion dollar businesses from the ground up. They crack the code on how to run a successful business and they wanna help you do the same.
[00:18:25] On the Millionaire University Podcast, you learn everything you need to know to become an entrepreneur, like how to automate and scale your businesses, how to come up with a profitable business idea, and how to build a personalized sales and marketing strategy. I highly recommend this podcast to all entrepreneurs.
[00:18:40] Whether you're building your very first business or already making six figures. The Millionaire University Podcast can help you make your business dreams a reality. So take the next step to earning seven figures with your business by listening to The Millionaire University podcast. New episodes drop Mondays and Thursdays.
[00:18:58] Find the Millionaire University [00:19:00] Podcast on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcast.
[00:19:04] You hear that sound? You should know that sound by now, Young and Profiters, but in case you don't, that's the sound of another sale on Shopify. Yes, that's right. The moment another business dream becomes a reality.
[00:19:16] Shopify is the commerce platform that's revolutionizing millions of businesses worldwide. Whether you're selling edgy t-shirts or offering an educational course like me. Shopify simplifies selling online and in person so you can focus on successfully growing your business. Shopify is packed with industry leading tools that are ready to ignite your growth, giving you complete control over your business and brand, and you don't have to learn new skills in design or code once you're ready to start selling.
[00:19:42] Shopify makes getting paid simple. They instantly accept every type of payment so you never miss out on a sale. It's seamless. It's effortless, and it's designed to support your business growth and Shopify grows with you no matter how big your business gets. Thanks to an endless list of integrations and third party apps, [00:20:00] anything you can think of from social selling to on-demand printing, to accounting, to chatbots. They've got everything you need to revolutionize your business.
[00:20:08] If you're a regular listener, you probably know that I use Shopify to sell my LinkedIn Secrets Masterclass. Setting up my Shopify store just took me a couple of days. I didn't have to focus on my website or my backend or how to collect payments or how to set up abandoned cart emails and all the things that Shopify enables me to do.
[00:20:25] In just a few clicks. In just a few minutes, I just got to focus on my course, making it the best it could be, and my marketing efforts to drive leads to my course and Shopify did all the rest. It is amazing. Shopify is one of my favorite platforms, and it's my favorite activity of the day. Checking my Shopify dashboards, seeing where people are logging in from.
[00:20:45] I love looking at my Shopify dashboard and all the analytics. Like I said, it is literally my favorite part of the day. So what are you waiting for? It's time to take your business to the next level with Shopify. Sign up for a $1 per month trial period at [00:21:00] shopify.com/profiting. That's all lowercase guys.
[00:21:03] Go to shopify.com/profiting to take your business to the next level today. Again, that's shopify.com/profiting. shopify.com/profiting. This is possibility powered by Shopify.
[00:21:19] That totally makes sense. You have an acronym that you write about in your book called HI PP, and it's a helpful reminder for how to give good guidance. Can you break that down for us?
[00:21:28] Kim Scott: So after you have solicited feedback and after you've given praise. It's time to give criticism and for both giving praise and criticism.
[00:21:38] It's really useful to keep this HIP P. Actually, it's hippie corn. I'll explain more about what I mean by that in mind. H is for humble and it's also for helpful. I call it candor and not truth because to me, candor implies here's how I understand the situation. I also wanna know how you [00:22:00] understand the situation so that we can get on the same page.
[00:22:03] So candor implies more of a dialogue. If I say, I'm gonna tell you the truth, I'm implying like I've got a pipeline to God. And you don't know shit from Shinola, and that's not a great way to start a conversation. So you wanna make sure that you're being, that you're being humble, that you state your intention to be helpful.
[00:22:20] The purpose of praise is to help people know what to do more of the purpose of criticism is to let them know what to do less of. So you wanna state your intention to be helpful. You also wanna make sure that, you're not trying to establish dominance or coercion with your feedback or to kick someone in the shins to humiliate them.
[00:22:41] Your goal here is to really help them succeed and it's worth it to keep that top of mind and actually state your intention. Again, this doesn't have to be a long, I'm explaining it in a long way, but what I mean by being helpful is I can tell you really care about this project. I've got an idea that'll help it get better, or [00:23:00] I can tell you really care about this project.
[00:23:01] There's something you're doing that's great that you may not be aware of that you should do more of. So that's what I mean. So that's H, I is for immediate. Again, why wait And the more you hang on to stuff, the more it builds and the weirder the conversation is when you finally have it. And it's also in the before times, I used to say, had these conversations in person.
[00:23:24] That's often now not possible in a hybrid work environment. So what I say is, if you can't have the conversation in person, have it synchronously. And what I mean by that is pick up the phone and call the person. If you send a text, you can't take the next step, which is to gauge how it's landing. So you wanna make sure that you're having a real back and forth two-way conversation.
[00:23:48] That's not a text, not an email. Slack is a feedback train, wreck rate waiting to happen. Don't, there's, Slack is good for a lot of things. It is not good for feedback. And so you wanna make [00:24:00] sure that you're talking to the per, you're having a real conversation. Like at its core, the idea of radical candor is to be able to really have a two-way conversation.
[00:24:12] So that's I. And then P is praise in public, criticize in private. And don't make your feedback about someone's personality attributes really hard to change personality attributes. So one of the things that, and, but it's hard to know how, you know how to make it not about personality. One of the things that helps is the corn acronym.
[00:24:36] So you wanna offer, and this is true for praise and criticism, context, observation result. Next step in the meeting when you offered both sides of the argument, you won credibility. Do more of that. Or in the meeting when you said every third word, it made you sound stupid. Go see this to go visit the speech coach.
[00:24:58] Hala Taha: So it's more about, in this [00:25:00] corn acronym. It's more about actually giving feedback about the actions they took rather than the person and their personality. Is that correct?
[00:25:07] Kim Scott: Yes. Absolutely.
[00:25:09] Hala Taha: Cool. So let's talk about radical candor for employees. Why is this not only just for bosses and managers?
[00:25:15] Kim Scott: Because the whole idea of radical candor is that it helps you improve.
[00:25:20] And also I think it's important to acknowledge that your boss may be human and may be imperfect and may be reluctant to give you feedback. My mother used to tell me a, not that I'm comparing your boss to a snake, but she used to say, when we were on a hike, I was very afraid of snakes. And she would say, Kim, those snakes are more afraid of you than you are of them.
[00:25:42] And that is often true of your boss. Your boss is afraid, maybe afraid to give you feedback, or maybe your boss gives you feedback. That is what we call obnoxiously aggressive. So maybe they remember to challenge directly, but they're not showing the care personally. So how can you make [00:26:00] sure that you can recce, that you can get feedback that is actionable from your boss?
[00:26:05] Again, there's an order of operations. You wanna start by soliciting it. And really drawing it out of your boss. Think about your go-to question, think about how you're gonna embrace the discomfort, sit with the silence. Think about how you're gonna prepare yourself to listen with the intent to understand, not to respond.
[00:26:26] And then you've gotta reward the candor by either fixing the problem or explaining why you disagree. That last thing is pretty tough, but this is about radical candor. Don't pretend to agree when you disagree.
[00:26:39] Hala Taha: That's so interesting. So you're saying there's a point in this conversation, where you can be like I appreciate your feedback even though I requested it, but I don't necessarily agree.
[00:26:48] Kim Scott: Yes. Because if you can't do that, then you get wedged, right? You ask for the feedback, you disagree with it, and you're like, and that's often why people fail to solicit feedback cuz [00:27:00] to avoid that awkward situation. So what do you do if you disagree with your boss's feedback? Look for that five or 10% of what your boss said that you can agree with, and give voice to that.
[00:27:14] And then say, as for the rest of it let me, can I think about it and process it? And then can we have another conversation? And then you've gotta get back to them. Some of my best professional relationships started with a good, respectful disagreement. And you can't argue endlessly. You can say, look, I, before you disagree, say, look, I will do it your way, but I wanna explain to you why I have some questions about this way.
[00:27:39] So you wanna make sure that you're communicating your willingness to listen, challenge, commit, but don't skip that challenge part because it's when you challenge that, you give your boss the opportunity to explain to you why you may be wrong. I'll give you an example of how this worked out. Another story [00:28:00] from early on in my experience at Google.
[00:28:03] And if you think about radical candor is caring and challenging at the same time. You're gonna watch me go to a dark place here. So where? Where I challenged, but I didn't show I cared. So I wound up in what I call obnoxious aggression. And then when I realized what I had done, I went to an even worse place, manipulative insincerity, where I was neither caring nor challenging.
[00:28:27] So I got into an argument with one of the founders about an AdSense policy. And I sent an email to him and about 30 other people. So first problem was, it was in the email. I didn't have a conversation with him.
[00:28:40] Hala Taha: Criticism in public broke the rule.
[00:28:42] Kim Scott: Yeah, in public and not synchronously. I was breaking two rules.
[00:28:46] It was public and over email. And I said, Larry claims he wants to organize the world's information to make it universally accessible and useful, but if it'll make us a buck, he's willing to create clutter sites that muddle the world's information. [00:29:00] Not my most politically astute moment. So let's pause for a moment.
[00:29:04] Think about why I did that, cuz I bet a bunch of your listeners have made the same mistake. I think I, I did that because I believe I bet you do that there's a special place in hell for people who kiss up and kick down. But that doesn't mean doing the exact opposite is such a brilliant move either.
[00:29:20] And so that was why I sent that obnoxiously aggressive email. That was a bad way to disagree. And then a friend called me up and said, why did you do that? That was incredibly obnoxious. And I realized it was, and the next time I saw Larry, I said to him, oh, Larry, I'm really sorry about that email.
[00:29:37] You're right, I'm wrong. Two problems with that. First is that I was lying. I did not think that I was wrong, so that's why I was going the wrong way on the challenge, directly, dimension. And the second problem is that Larry, like most people, has a pretty good BS meter, and he could tell that I was lying and he scowled at me and stalked off.
[00:29:57] It was one of those cringe moments. [00:30:00] The guy sitting next to me said, I think he likes it better when you disagree with him. It's really important when you get some feedback or you're having some kind of disagreement with your boss that you don't pretend to agree because if by pretending to agree with him, not only was I lying, I also was depriving him of the opportunity to explain to me why I was wrong.
[00:30:22] And he may have explained it and I may not have agreed, but at that point I probably would've said thank you for listening. I'm still not sure I agree, but we'll do it your way.
[00:30:32] Hala Taha: That totally makes sense. And I'd love to try to understand some of these bad behaviors that we can fall into if we don't know how to give feedback in a constructive way, and we don't.
[00:30:42] Do you know the two principles that you mentioned, which is to challenge directly and to show that you care. So one of them, we just went over obnoxious aggression. Then there's ruinous empathy and manipulative insincerity. Can you tell us what those mean?
[00:30:55] Kim Scott: Yes. So obnoxious aggression you can think of as front stabbing, [00:31:00] manipulative, insincerity you could think of as backstabbing or like the false apology, like what I did to Larry.
[00:31:06] After my friend pointed out, I had been obnoxious oh, I'm sorry. You're right, I'm wrong. But I didn't think that was classic manipulative insincerity. And the problem with manipulative insincerity is that it really erodes trust. The problem with obnoxious aggression is that it hurts other people.
[00:31:24] It's also a waste of breath because when you've hurt someone, they go into fight or flight mode and then they literally can't hear what you're saying. So why talk? And the other problem with obnoxious aggression is that most people really don't want to land there, but it's their instinct. At least it's my instinct.
[00:31:41] And I've noticed a lot of other people make the same mistake, when I realize I've landed there. I do exactly what I did in that story about the email I sent to Larry. I zoom the wrong way on challenge directly instead of going the right way on care personally. So don't make that mistake. But the thing [00:32:00] about obnoxious aggression and manipulative insincerity is that these are where the drama is, but it's not where most of us make most of our mistakes.
[00:32:12] The vast majority of people make the vast majority of their mistakes when they do remember to show that they care personally, but they're so worried about not hurting someone's feelings. That they fail to tell them something they'd be better off knowing in the long run. And that's what I call ruinous sympathy.
[00:32:29] To explain what I mean by ruinous empathy, I'm gonna tell you about probably the most painful moment of my career. I had just hired this guy, we'll call him Bob, and I really liked Bob a lot. He was smart, he was charming, he was funny. He would do stuff like we were at a manager off site playing one of those endless Get to Know You games.
[00:32:49] And he was the guy who had the courage to raise his hand and to say, I can tell everybody's really stressed out. And I've got an idea, it'll help us get to know each other and it'll be really fast. [00:33:00] And Bob says, let's just go around the table and confess what candy our parents use when potty training is really weird, but really fast, weirder.
[00:33:09] Yet we all remembered Hershey Kisses right here. And then for the next 10 months, every time there was a tense moment in a meeting, Bob would whip out just the right piece of candy for the right person at the right moment. So we all loved Bob. He was a little quirky, but he brought some levity to the office.
[00:33:27] One problem with Bob, he was doing terrible work. I was so puzzled cuz he had this incredible resume, but he was doing very detailed work and he would hand stuff into me with a million sloppy mistakes. I learned much later that the problem was that he was smoking pot in the bathroom three times a day, which maybe explained all that candy that he had on hand at all.
[00:33:52] But I didn't know any of that at the time. All I knew is he was handing in stuff to me riddled with sloppy mistakes, and I would say something to [00:34:00] him along the lines of oh Bob, this is a great start. You're so awesome. You're so smart. We all love working with you. Maybe you can make it just a little bit better, which of course he never did.
[00:34:10] And so let's pause for a moment and think about why I said that to Bob. Part of it was truly ruin his sympathy. I really did like him and I really didn't wanna h hurt his feelings, but if I'm honest with myself, there was also a little bit of manipulative insincerity going on there because Bob was popular and Bob was sensitive, and I was afraid that if I told Bob in no uncertain terms that his work wasn't nearly good enough, that he would get upset, he might even start to cry, and then everybody would think I was a big, you know what?
[00:34:43] The part of me that was worried about my reputation as a leader was the manipulative insincerity part. The part of me that was worried about Bob's feelings was the ruin of sympathy part. And this goes on for 10 months. And eventually the inevitable happened and I realized that if I didn't fire [00:35:00] Bob, I was gonna lose all my top performers because they were frustrated.
[00:35:03] They were unable to do their best work because their deliverables were late. When Bob's deliverables were late, they couldn't spend as much time on their work cuz they were constantly having to redo his work and they were fed up. They were gonna go someplace where they could do their best work. And so I realized I had no choice but to sit down and have a conversation with Bob that I should have started, frankly, 10 months previously.
[00:35:28] And when I finished explaining to Bob where things stood, he pushed his chair back from the table. He looked me right in the eye and he said, why didn't you tell me? And as that question was going around in my head with no good answer, he looked at me again and he said, why didn't anyone tell me?
[00:35:47] I thought you all cared about me? And now I realize that by not telling Bob, thinking I was being so nice, he's getting fired as a result of it. Not so nice. After all, it's [00:36:00] one of the worst moments of my career. But even Bob at this point agreed he should go because his reputation on the team was just shot.
[00:36:08] All I could do in the moment was make myself a very solemn promise that I would never do that again, and that I would do everything in my power to help other managers avoid making that mistake. Cuz that mistake is the most common mistake that we all make, not just managers, all of us in all our different relationships.
[00:36:30] Hala Taha: And I feel like this is such an important point because if people don't hear the feedback. They're not gonna know how to get better. And you basically let him like fester. In his ways for so long and it ruined his reputation at work. So it is in their best interest. Even if it hurts in the moment, it's good for the long term.
[00:36:45] Even if they don't stay at this job for their future. It's good for their future.
[00:36:50] Kim Scott: It was good for him. If I had told it, was it by not telling him, not only was it bad for him, got him fired, it was bad for the whole team. It frustrated them. It was bad for their [00:37:00] relationship with him because they were frustrated by him and it was bad for our results.
[00:37:04] It was just bad, all the way down.
[00:37:06] Hala Taha: Makes sense. Okay, so one of my last questions about radical candor, then we can get into just work. It's about understanding motivations of people. So in your book you say there's a difference between superstars and rock stars and it's important to know the difference.
[00:37:19] I always thought they were one of the same. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
[00:37:23] Kim Scott: Me too. And I try to say superstar mode and rockstar mode because we're all in these two different modes at different points in our career. And I learned this when I was working with a leader at Apple who said you have to manage people in superstar mode very differently from people in rockstar mode.
[00:37:39] And like you, I was like, what's the difference? She explained to me that people, when they're in superstar mode, you should think of them almost like a shooting star. They are growing really quickly. They wanna continue to grow really quickly. They want the next challenge. They wanna learn new stuff. They probably wanna get a promotion [00:38:00] and they may wanna leave the company and start their own company.
[00:38:04] They have great ambition and it's your job to give them that, the opportunities to fulfill those ambition, those ambitions. But a person who's in rockstar mode is a person who's great at the job. They're doing excellent work, just as good a work as the person in superstar mode, by the way. But they don't have that ambition.
[00:38:27] To take the next step, to get the next job. Maybe they have something else in their life, like maybe they're writing novels on the side, but they're still great at their job. They don't want your job, they don't wanna be Steve Jobs. They just wanna do their job. And if you don't screw it up for them, then they will keep doing that job often for a long time and be like the Rock of Gibraltar on your team.
[00:38:51] Hala Taha: I love that. And so it's important to understand what motivates each team member so you can get the most productive work out of them. So how should you treat a rockstar versus a superstar? [00:39:00]
[00:39:00] Kim Scott: So if you have someone who's in superstar mode, again, you don't wanna label people rock stars and superstars cuz the it changes over time.
[00:39:08] But if you have someone who is in superstar mode, you wanna make sure that they know what their path to promotion is. You wanna make sure that you're giving them new things to learn, that they're on a steep learning curve. They wanna be on a steep learning curve. They often are pouring a lot of their energy, most of their energy into their job.
[00:39:32] Whereas a person in rockstar mode, they don't necessarily want the next promotion, but they do wanna be respected and honored. And I think very often the mistake that managers make is either they clip the wings of people who are in superstar mode, or they disrespect people who are in rockstar mode. So you wanna make sure that a person who is in rockstar mode gets recognition for the work they do, the [00:40:00] expertise they have if they like to teach.
[00:40:02] You wanna give them opportunities to teach others. You also wanna make sure that you're giving fair ratings. A mistake that a lot of managers make is they save all the highest ratings for the people, who are in superstar mode. And then they give unfairly low ratings to people who are in rockstar mode.
[00:40:23] Even though in that job, they're both doing equally great work, and the financial reward that people who are in superstar mode get should come after they get promoted, and they get a bump up and compensation and equity and all of that sort of thing. Whereas the financial reward that people who are in rockstar mode get should be a good bonus, a great rating.
[00:40:46] So you wanna make sure that you're not hoarding all your top ratings for people in superstar mode.
[00:40:53] Hala Taha: I totally know what you're saying right now. So I'm the CEO of a company that has about 60 employees and we definitely have our, as you're saying it, we definitely have our [00:41:00] rocks. We definitely have our superstars and superstars just call out more attention, cuz they're just so much more ambitious and things like that.
[00:41:06] But then there's people that are doing really good work, who have been there for a long time, who are keeping the organization running. And you need to retain your employees to have a successful organization. Those people are very important. So you've gotta, call them out, make sure you respect them, reward them.
[00:41:18] Makes a lot of sense.
[00:41:19] Kim Scott: I also think it's really important not to allow your organization to get promotion obsessed. So I actually wouldn't, unless somebody when they got promoted, they changed their jobs and everybody needed to know. But I wouldn't send out the big email. Woo-hoo. So and so got promoted.
[00:41:37] The promotion comes with plenty of extrinsic motivation in terms of compensation and equity. But you wanna celebrate great work, not promotions. And so you wanna make sure that you're publicly celebrating people who are in rockstar mode as much as people who are in superstar mode.
[00:41:56] Hala Taha: Makes a lot of sense.
[00:41:57] Okay, so Steve's Jobs, as somebody who, [00:42:00] you talk about his management style a lot, and you say he led people Apple flawlessly, but he did doing, he did that without actually telling people what to do.
[00:42:08] Kim Scott: I don't think I said flawlessly. He's a flawed man, but he was a great leader.
[00:42:14] Hala Taha: So how did he get people to get stuff done without actually telling them exactly what to do?
[00:42:19] Kim Scott: I mean he, he said, and he really meant this was true I think at Apple. He said, at Apple we hire people who tell us what to do, not the other way around. So he was very focused on, for example, making sure that there were directly responsible individuals. They were called DIR and the DRI had full autonomy over there, over what they were working on.
[00:42:46] If Steve, for example, had a question about something that a DRI I was working on, some feature, he would go, he would show up at that person's cube. Even if that person was, a very recent [00:43:00] inexperienced employee, he wouldn't talk to the person's manager who would talk to their, he would go directly.
[00:43:06] And that I think was really important. Allowing people a lot of autonomy, not over everything, but over their sphere of work was important. And I think another thing that he did that was really important was he really, he didn't just encourage he demanded that people would challenge him. And for example, when Apple was making the decision whether or not to launch iTunes on the Windows platform, when Max had 3% market share. And initially the purpose of the iPod and of iTunes was to convert people from windows to Apple, from Microsoft to Apple.
[00:43:53] That was the thought. But as the iPod and iTunes became very successful, [00:44:00] that team wanted to launch it on the Windows platform because the Apple only had 3% market share for obvious reasons. And at first, Steve was very opposed to this idea. And he realized that if he always argued for his side, that he would win because of who he was.
[00:44:22] And because he had very, even if he hadn't been the founder of the company and the CEO, he had very strong personality. And so he would switch roles. And he encouraged this argument. He called it the he likened debate on a team to a rock Tumblr. And he said, you throw these ordinary stones in three days later out outcome, these beautiful polished stones.
[00:44:45] And he said that, there's a lot of noise, a lot of friction in the Rock. Tumblr. Same thing with debate on a team. But he knew he had to keep the debate going. And eventually he allowed himself to be overruled if a team backed down too soon. There was another [00:45:00] time when he was in an argument with one of his direct reports about a feature.
[00:45:05] The direct report argued once, he argued twice, he argued a third time, and then he did what I was saying, listen, challenge, commit. But he committed too soon. So they did it Steve's way and it emerged that Steve was wrong and this guy was right. And Steve came charging into his office and he said, why did we do it this way?
[00:45:23] And he said was your idea. And Steve looked at him and he said, yes, and it was your job to convince me I was wrong and you failed. Not like the kindest, most gentle way to make sure that people were arguing him with him, but he tended to hire people who were very, who had strong personalities so that kind of style worked for most of them.
[00:45:46] Hala Taha: We'll be right back after a quick break from our sponsors.
[00:45:50] Hey, YAP Fam. As you may know, I've been a full-time entrepreneur for three years now. YAP Media blew up so fast, it was really hard to keep everything under control, [00:46:00] but things have settled a bit and I'm really focused on revamping and improving our company culture.
[00:46:05] I have 60 employees, so it's a lot of people to try to rally and motivate, and I recently had bestselling author Kim Scott on the show. And after previewing her content in our conversation, I just knew I had to take her class on masterclass, tackle the hard conversations with radical candor to really absorb all she has to offer.
[00:46:25] And now I'm using her radical candor method every day with my team to give and solicit feedback, to cultivate a more inclusive culture and to empower them with my honesty. And I can see my team feeling more motivated and energized already. They're really receptive to this framework, and I'm so happy because I really needed this class.
[00:46:45] With masterclass, you can learn from the best to become your best anytime, anywhere and at your own pace. And we all know that profiting in life doesn't just mean thriving in business. With masterclass, you can brush up on your art skills or your cooking skills, or even your [00:47:00] modeling skills. With over 180 classes from a range of world-class instructors, that thing you've always wanted to do better is just a few clicks away.
[00:47:09] On Masterclass, you'll find courses from many YAP all-star guests like Chris Voss and Daniel Pink. I've been taking their sales and negotiation classes, and I've been feeling like a real shark lately. I've totally leveled up my sales skills. How much would it cost you to take a one-on-one class from the world's best?
[00:47:27] A lot, but with Masterclass annual memberships, it just costs you $10 a month. I have to say the most surprising thing about masterclass, since I started this incredible journey on the platform is the value for the quality of classes instructors. The platform itself is beautiful. The videos are super high quality.
[00:47:47] You can't beat it, gain new skills and as little as 10 minutes on your phone, your computer, tablet, smart tv, and my personal favorite way to learn is there audio mode to listen on the go. That way I can multitask while I learn. [00:48:00] Get unlimited access to every class, and right now as the app listener, you can get 15% off when you go to masterclass.com/profiting.
[00:48:07] That's masterclass.com/profiting for 15% off an annual membership masterclass.com/profiting.
[00:48:15] YAP Fam, many of us are freelancing or running a small business. We love flexibility, control, freedom, and being creative. I love being an entrepreneur. I thrive in this type of role, but there's certain parts of entrepreneurship that I'm just not good at and I don't enjoy.
[00:48:33] Namely, finance and taxes. I'm a highly motivated person, but nothing demotivates me more than paperwork and paying bills, and I procrastinate. Oftentimes. I miss deadlines and don't get things done because I don't like doing that kind of stuff, but that stuff still has to get done. If you wanna focus on your passion and not your paperwork, you have to know about collective.com.
[00:48:55] Collective is an all-in-one financial solution for freelancers, contractors, and entrepreneurs [00:49:00] making north of $60,000 in profit a year. Collective handles your corporate formation and compliance, paperwork, taxes, bookkeeping, accounting, and even payroll. Take away your busy work and maximize your tax savings.
[00:49:12] Don't worry about hiring a CPA, a bookkeeper or an attorney. With Collective, you'll get access to tax and accounting experts, and it's gonna cost you a fraction of the cost. Trust me, I made the mistake of hiring senior roles way too fast. It will suck your profits dry, and unless you pay top of market, the talent is just gonna be lackluster.
[00:49:31] Wait as long as possible and instead leverage a platform like collective.com. If you've already made money this year, but don't have an S-Corp election right now through June 30th, Collective can save you thousands of dollars on taxes in 2023 because they're able to backdate your S-Corp election to January 1st.
[00:49:49] I actually did this exact same strategy last year for my company, and this year I paid significantly less taxes, literally half of what I paid for 2021. I can't promise [00:50:00] the same results, but it really worked for us at YAP Media. In fact, collective members save on average $10,000 per year on taxes with this structure.
[00:50:09] With those kind of savings. Collective will pay for itself act before June 30th to save potentially thousands of dollars in 2023 taxes. Go to collective.com to save on taxes this year and have somebody who knows what they're doing. Handle your setup, accounting, bookkeeping, and taxes, even your personal taxes.
[00:50:26] That's collective.com.
[00:50:27] What's up Young and Profiters? Do you have a CRM platform? A CRM tool can help you accelerate business growth by keeping track of leads, improving customer retention, automating daily tasks, and enabling data sharing across your entire organization. If this sounds like what you need, say hello to Brevo.
[00:50:45] Formally Send in blue a platform that helps you build customer relationships across email, sms, chat, and more. With Brevo, you can easily create customized emails, engaging SMS or WhatsApp campaigns, stunning landing pages, [00:51:00] and automated workflows, no matter your goals. Brevo has the complete toolkit to turn one-time browsers into long-term customers.
[00:51:08] It's the perfect growth tool for marketers, small and medium sized business owners and sales teams looking to build a consolidated marketing and CRM toolbox. I'm especially impressed with B Bravo's sales platform. You can automate repetitive tasks from meeting reminders to follow ups. I'm all about less admin work and more time closing deals.
[00:51:28] And with all leads and deals in one place. You can keep a closer eye on your progress and streamline your pipeline. Brevo can also help streamline your sales and marketing efforts. With more transparency and all customer interactions during the buying journey stored in one central location. Your team will have a better pulse on what's working and what can be improved.
[00:51:46] And at the same time, your customers will enjoy a consistent end-to-end experience that keeps them loyal to your brand and best of all, Brevo's pricing structure is based on the number of emails sent, not the number of contacts [00:52:00] stored. So this will lead to a lot of cost savings. Get started with Brevo for free by going to brevo.com/profiting, and use the promo code profiting to save 50% off your first three months of the starter and business plan.
[00:52:13] Again, that's bravo.com/profiting and sign up for free.
[00:52:20] I love it. Thanks for sharing that. Let's move on to your latest book. Just Work: Get Sh*t Done, Fast and Fair. It's a really important one. What was the genesis of writing this book?
[00:52:29] Kim Scott: So if you write a book about feedback, you're bound to get a lot of it. And indeed I did. And so I was giving a Radical Candor talk at a tech company in San Francisco and the CEO of that company had been a colleague of mine for the better part of the decade.
[00:52:45] A person I like and respect enormously. And also one of too few black women CEOs in tech. And after I finished the Radical Candor talk, she pulled me aside and she said, Kim, it's, I'm really excited to roll out Radical Candor. I think it's gonna help [00:53:00] me. I think it's gonna help me build the kind of culture, the kind of innovative culture that I want.
[00:53:04] But I gotta tell you, it's much harder for me than it is for you to roll out radical candor. And she went on to explain to me that as soon as she would offer anyone, even the most compassionate, gentle criticism. She would get slim with the angry black woman stereotype. And I knew this was true. And as soon as she said it to me, I realized that I had not fully considered how often bias, prejudice, and bullying taint our feedback and make us shut down to feedback that we need to hear.
[00:53:36] And I realized that was a failure of the book, and I needed to write a whole new book. That was the genesis of Just Work of starting to work on just, and when I say just work, work justly or justice at work, not just work all the time.
[00:53:51] Hala Taha: When I first started it, I was like thinking only work.
[00:53:53] And then I realized it meant like just fair work. So now I get it.
[00:53:57] Kim Scott: Yes. The title I would [00:54:00] say just didn't work when we launched the paperback. We're gonna have a different title.
[00:54:04] Hala Taha: What are some examples of these injustices that we can find in the workplace?
[00:54:08] Kim Scott: So I think that part of the reason for much of my career, I didn't recognize bias, prejudice, and bullying when they were happening to me or to other people like my colleague Michelle.
[00:54:20] So one of the things that I tried to do is I tried to break the problem apart into its component parts. So I think bias, prejudice, and bullying are three different things, but we tend to conflate them as though they're the same thing. So bias, I'm gonna offer you some overly simple definitions.
[00:54:38] Bias is not meaning it. It's usually unconscious thought, whereas prejudice is meaning it. It's a very consciously held belief, usually reflecting some kind of unfair and inaccurate stereotype. And bullying. There's no belief, conscious or unconscious going on at all. It's just being mean. So for me, that just breaking it [00:55:00] apart has offered different kind of responses that we can make.
[00:55:04] So whether you're the upstander, hopefully not the silent bystander or the leader or the person to whom this is happening. I think if it's biased, you can respond to it with an I statement. So a great example of that comes from a story that Aileen Lee told me. She's the founder of Cowboy vc, and she told me about going into a meeting with two colleagues who are men, and they sat down at a long conference room table and Aileen sat in the middle because she had the expertise who was gonna, that was gonna win her team, the deal.
[00:55:38] Then the other side filed in. The first person sat across from the guy to Aileen's, left the next person sat across from the guy to his left, and then they filed on down the table. Leaving Aileen dangling by herself. And that's often how bias shows up. Just who sits next to whom. Aileen started talking and as soon as the other side had questions, they would direct [00:56:00] them at her two colleagues who are men.
[00:56:02] It happened once. It happened twice. You're shaking your head, you've noticed this happening. It happens all the damn time. The third time it happened, her colleague who was a man stood up and he said, I think Aileen and I should switch seats. That was all he had to do to totally change the dynamic in the room.
[00:56:19] And why did he do that? Why did he use an I statement and I statement invites other people in to under to notice what's happening. Notice what they're not noticing. Notice what they were unconscious of. It doesn't call them al, it doesn't say you all are a bunch of sexist, racist jerks. It's just, I think Aileen and I should switch seats when as soon as he and Aileen switched seats, everybody recognized what was going on and they.
[00:56:46] They started involving, including Aileen in the conversation. And he did that. He was an upstander, not a silent bystander for a couple of reasons. One, he cared about Aileen and he didn't like seeing or get ignored. So there was an emotional [00:57:00] moral part of it, but he also did it. There were practical reasons.
[00:57:04] He also did it because he wanted to win the deal, and he knew if he couldn't get them engaging with Aileen, they wouldn't win the deal. And I think that is a good example of an upstander using an I statement to point out bias.
[00:57:16] Holding up a mirror.
[00:57:18] Hala Taha: There's so much to unpack here. Let me start with this.
[00:57:21] Why is it important that he took that situation with compassion and didn't shame everyone for being biased in that moment?
[00:57:30] Kim Scott: So shaming people is a form of obnoxious aggression. It puts them as soon as we're in shame brain where our lizard brain kicks in. When we feel ashamed at the parts of our brain that feel physical fear for our safety light up.
[00:57:48] And I can tell you in fact, it's useful to recognize in your body where you feel ashamed. When I feel ashamed and I'm human. When someone points out to me that I've said or done something biased, I do feel a [00:58:00] shame. There's no way for you to tell me that I've done something that is biased without invoking a little bit of shame in me.
[00:58:08] But you wanna try to minimize it. Cause I feel shame in the backs of my knees. It's like the backs of my knees tingle. It's the same physical sensation that I have. If my children walk too close to the edge of a precipice. It's real fear. It was really important that he tried to minimize that, that he didn't shame them intentionally.
[00:58:31] At the same time, he didn't say nothing because he was afraid. They might feel ashamed if he said something. That's a nuance that I think gets lost often.
[00:58:41] Hala Taha: So something else I wanted to ask you about that I found really interesting that I never really tied this together until reading your book.
[00:58:48] You mention that bullying will become harassment once somebody has power and prejudice can become discrimination when somebody has power. So I never really put those [00:59:00] two together and it was just so interesting. So I'd love for you to explain that to us.
[00:59:03] Kim Scott: An example of, I guess this is not so subtle, but a way that bias becomes discrimination is obviously in performance reviews and then promotions.
[00:59:15] And so one time I was working with a CEO, I was a coach to a CEO who noticed that there were no women on his team. And to his credit, he figured the problem was probably the promotion process, not the women at the company. And so he invited me to sit in on a promotion meeting. And there were two people up for promotion, a man and a woman in the promotion conversation.
[00:59:40] In that committee, they referred to the man as a great leader and then they referred to the woman as a real mother hen. And I was like oh my God. Back the train up. And at first they were a little bit defensive. They were like, oh, Kim, it doesn't mean anything. It's no. And I said, it is a big deal cuz who are you gonna promote?[01:00:00]
[01:00:00] Are you gonna promote the real mother hen or the great leader? And they acknowledged it and they changed your language and the woman wound up getting promoted. And so I think that sort of learning how to quantify your bias learning using tools like Textio to figure out how bias is showing up in performance reviews that are written.
[01:00:24] But also if you're having, if you're having an kind of a committee and it's a homogeneous committee, hire a bias buster. It was so much easier for me to speak up because they were paying me to do exactly, that than if they had said they had brought in someone from HR who's, who happened to be a woman to sit in on the meeting.
[01:00:45] So really give people the opportunity to point your biases out to you, when they may be impacting decisions like who you're hiring, who you're promoting, that sort of thing.
[01:00:57] Hala Taha: So when it comes to bias, [01:01:00] I know that a lot of it is unconscious. Or bias technically means it's something that you don't really know that you're doing.
[01:01:06] But once you are aware of it and you continue to do it, it becomes prejudice. And if you have a power it that could be then become discrimination, right? So how can we become aware of our biases then?
[01:01:18] Kim Scott: So one of the things that I recommend, and by the way, just because you're aware of a bias, doesn't mean it's gonna change automatically.
[01:01:27] You have to be patient with yourself, but also persistent because very often, these are deeply ingrained patterns of thought. Another CEO who I was coaching, I pointed out to him that he tended to refer to people at the company as you guys, when he was addressing the whole company. And 30% of the people they were trying to get it to, 50% of the people were not guys.
[01:01:49] They were women. And that's not the biggest deal in the world to call people you guys, but, and it didn't annoy all the women, but it annoyed about half the women. And [01:02:00] so he agreed that he would try to change it, but this was a deeply ingrained pattern of speech. So I wouldn't say that he was guilty of discrimination because he couldn't change this right away, but it took a lot of effort for him to change it.
[01:02:16] And one of the things that I recommend that teams do is a technique called bias disruption. There's three parts to disrupting bias. The first part is to sit down with your team. And to come up with a shared vocabulary. What are we gonna say when we notice bias? This is a really important follow up, I think, to something like unconscious bias training, because the danger of unconscious bias training is that it leaves everyone feeling helpless.
[01:02:49] Oh my gosh, I'm doing this terrible thing and I don't know what to do about it. I'm not saying unconscious bias training is bad. I think it's a great thing to do, but it's a first step. It's not the last step. [01:03:00] The other thing about that's risky, about unconscious bias training that you don't follow up with an action, is that it boils the ocean.
[01:03:08] It's like there's all these biases in the world and it can feel overwhelming. And what I wanna encourage teams to do is to just deal with the biases, that are present in the room with the group of people in the room. You don't have to boil the ocean. Let's deal with what's ac actually showing up with whatever group we're in.
[01:03:28] And so the first step is to sit down with the team and to say, what are we gonna say? What's the word or phrase that we're gonna say when we notice bias? Because it's really hard to know what to say when you notice bias. And if you have a shared vocabulary, it makes it much easier. And I think it's really important not to impose words on your team and not to ban words on your team, but to talk about this and to flag it as it shows up.
[01:03:56] So I wave a purple flag, which I usually, oh, there's my purple [01:04:00] flag. It moved on my desk. Here it is. Here's my purple flag. So I like to wave a purple flag when I notice bias, if I've had the conversation with my team. So that's what I'll do. But other teams hate the purple flag. One team I work with would throw up a peace sign.
[01:04:16] Another team would say, yo, another team would say, bias alert. The important thing. There's no right magic words that are gonna make this more comfortable. This is gonna be uncomfortable and it's not gonna feel safe. What you want to do is to encourage your team to feel free to disrupt bias and that a shared vocabulary can be freeing.
[01:04:37] Come up with your shared vocabulary.
[01:04:40] Hala Taha: Can you give us some examples of common biases that show up in the workplace?
[01:04:45] Kim Scott: Sure. One very common bias, I'm gonna speak from, an American centric point of view, different I also am coaching a Turkish CEO of a Turkish gaming company, and he has a whole different set of biases.
[01:04:59] But I'm [01:05:00] gonna talk from an American point of view. One example is the one that Michelle, my colleague, pointed out. A black woman says something and someone says, you seem angry. And I think it's important to recognize that maybe she didn't. Probably if my husband, who's a white man, spoke exactly the same way that Michelle did, who's a black woman, he would've been called a great guy.
[01:05:25] So easy to work with, and if I, as a white woman had said exactly the same thing and exactly the same way, maybe I would've been called a badass. Which is like a little good and a little bad, but I wouldn't have been called a great guy. Really easy to work with. And so I think it's important to recognize that there are certain tropes, like angry black woman that we need to eliminate from the, so I would tend to wave the flag there, especially if she didn't seem angry.
[01:05:54] I think another one is abrasive guys are called aggressive, but sure he has to be to get [01:06:00] the job done. Whereas women are often called abrasive and or lacking in executive presence. Executive presence is like, A super highway for bias. Another common one is Asian women are expected to be docile, and if they're not, then they get criticized unfairly.
[01:06:19] And so those are examples of biases that might show up. Another bias. I asked someone to have lunch and someone weighed the purple flag and I had no idea what I had done wrong. And I said, which brings me to the second part of bias disruptors. I said, thank you for pointing it out, but I'm not sure what I did wrong.
[01:06:43] Can you tell me after the meeting?
[01:06:44] That was important because normalizing make, making sure that everyone understands it's gonna happen. That we're gonna say or do something wrong, we're gonna mess up, but we don't even know what we did wrong. And I felt really ashamed. I was [01:07:00] like, not only had I hurt someone, I was ignorant of what I had done wrong.
[01:07:04] And so teaching people to say, thank you for pointing it out, but I'm not sure what I did wrong. Can you tell me after the meeting is the second part norms of responding to when you're the one who's, whose bias is being not accused, but whose bias is being called in? Although it probably is gonna feel like an accusation.
[01:07:22] By the way, what I had done wrong, it was Ramadan, this person was fasting and so I just, I was not aware. I was making an assumption that the person could have lunch and I was wrong about that. And then the third part of bias disruption is you wanna create a commitment if you get through a meeting. So we should do this.
[01:07:44] Let's do, let's commit to doing this. If we get through a conversation and nobody has flagged anybody else's bias, then it probably doesn't mean no bias showed up in that meeting. Cuz bias is, these are very pervasive habits of thought and [01:08:00] speech. But it probably means either we didn't notice something or we didn't feel comfortable pointing it out, and so let's give 30 seconds at the end to say, what do we miss here?
[01:08:12] Hala Taha: I love that. I feel like these are really great actionable steps that teams can take to unpack their bias, having a secret word for your team to raise awareness and then talk about it after the meeting. So I think that's great. So we're gonna close out this interview. Kim, it was so lovely to chat with you.
[01:08:27] The last two questions I ask all of my guests are, what is one actionable thing our Young and Profiters can do today to become more profitable tomorrow?
[01:08:35] Kim Scott: One thing is to solicit feedback and specifically come up with a go-to question. Don't say, do you have any feedback for me? You're wasting your breath. I can already, oh no, everything's fine.
[01:08:47] So you wanna ask a question that demands an answer. What could I do or stop doing that would make it easier to work with me, is my question. But you gotta come up with your question cuz if you sound like Kim [01:09:00] Scott and not like yourself, then people won't believe that you really want the answer.
[01:09:05] Hala Taha: That's great advice.
[01:09:06] And what is your secret to profiting in life? And this can be beyond financial.
[01:09:11] Kim Scott: My secret in profiting to li in life is to figure out what I love to do and to give myself time to do it. So I love to write when even when I was working at Google and I was super busy, I would block time in the morning and time in the evening at work to write.
[01:09:30] It was my writing time and I treated this. Like my most important meeting of the day. Right now, I get to write all the time and my new hobby is reading. So figure out what you love to do, what gives you strength, and do it block time in your calendar to do it.
[01:09:49] Hala Taha: I'd love that advice. Kim, where can everybody learn more about you and everything that you do?
[01:09:54] Kim Scott: radicalcandor.com or justworktogether.com, I am [01:10:00] less and less on Twitter, although it's @kimballscott Scott and I'm more and more on LinkedIn. .
[01:10:05] Hala Taha: Awesome. We love LinkedIn here.
[01:10:07] Kim Scott: Yes. So do I.
[01:10:08] Hala Taha: Thank you so much for your time. Really appreciated all your wisdom.
[01:10:11] Kim Scott: Thank you so much. Loved our conversation.
[01:10:19] Hala Taha: YAP Fam. I hope you enjoyed this conversation with Kim as much as I did, and I really appreciated it. Because this year I'm focusing on shaping our company culture at YAP Media. I've done tons of exercises around this. It's a huge focus for me, and I can't wait to introduce some of Kim's philosophies to my team.
[01:10:37] I think the biggest takeaway from this interview is that practicing Radical Candor means that you care personally and challenge directly. You take interest in people's personal lives, but hold them accountable for the mistakes they make. And this means you care about your employees and coworkers as people.
[01:10:54] The relationship between a boss and employee is deeply human. Now, it's not quite a friendship, [01:11:00] but developing deep relationships with your employees is key to building a foundation of trust and honesty. When it comes to challenging directly, you wanna make sure that you're soliciting feedback as much as you're giving it, if not more.
[01:11:12] Radical candor starts with asking for feedback. This is especially important if you're a leader, because asking your employees for feedback puts you both on a level playing field, which makes it easier to form genuine, honest connections with your team. After you ask for feedback, embrace the discomfort.
[01:11:29] Sit with the silence and listen to your feedback with the intent to understand and not necessarily to respond. And if you don't agree with your feedback, don't pretend like you do. Respectfully explain why you disagree. And finally, fix your problems. Remember Kim's motto, listen, challenge, commit, and some other tips from Kim.
[01:11:48] You wanna make sure that you're not giving feedback in an obnoxiously aggressive way, because that puts people in fight or flight mode. And on the flip side, you don't wanna withhold your true feelings for the sake of the other person's [01:12:00] feelings. That's ruinous empathy, and that can keep people from hearing what they need to hear in order to grow.
[01:12:05] Sometimes you gotta have those tough conversations for the better of everyone. And finally keep in mind that these conversations should take place in private and never give somebody feedback about their personality. I recently had Seth Godin on the show again, and this is something he emphasized as well.
[01:12:21] In order to cultivate safe positive company cultures. You relentlessly need to criticize the work, but never the worker. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Young and Profiting Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to share it with your friends and family and drop us a five star review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcast.
[01:12:40] That's the number one way to thank me and everybody who works hard on the show. If you like watching your podcast videos, you guys can find us on YouTube. We upload all of our full episodes to YouTube. You can also find me on Instagram @yapwithhala or LinkedIn by searching my name. It's Hala Taha. I wanna shout out my amazing and hardworking YAP team.
[01:12:59] You guys are [01:13:00] so on fire right now. Thank you for all that you do. This is your host, Hala Taha, signing off.
[01:13:22] Voice-over: Here's a thought. 401ks are like, everyone's got one. So screw the market. Invest in the bricks. Real estate investing used to be a space for the elite, but not anymore. Starting with as little as a thousand dollars, invest in the same deals that make the super wealthy even richer. Download the Fun Rebel app today.
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.