book reviews
December 21, 2021

Radical Candor by Kim Scott

Communication is always an issue for all teams, especially those working in creative domains like IT. Designers, developers, and content creators often face problems of not knowing how to accept feedback and, more of an issue, how to give it to others. And Radical Candor, introduced by Kim Scott, is salvation for this.

The author has written the book for managers mostly. But it’s valid for other team players who want to learn more about a work environment they desire to build around and work in.

The concept is simple: do not ignore others, do not be defensive about getting feedback, do not manipulate by prevaricating, and care personally while challenging directly with feedback.

A few other concepts lay a bit deeper inside the Radical Candor concept when you start to ask yourself how to care personally? How to challenge with feedback? How to be sincere with my team and yourself? What are the qualities of good feedback?

The first thing to learn is that managers should not lock knowledge and decisions on themselves. You can’t give any good feedback if you do not want to share information or, even worse, if you have no any (and pretend to make decisions). In a way, it all intersects with the concept of shared understanding. The Get Stuff Done wheel below is a seven-step process that can help your team achieve it collaboratively.

With no extra words, it’s about listening to every stakeholder and making decisions with them on gathered knowledge. It’s essential not to jump right into execution or decision before previous steps.

The trap here is that any team moves toward trade-offs when everybody is pleased and agrees with others. The flip side of the coin is that finding trade-offs are not always about finding the truth or the best solution. My theory is that eventually making trade-offs, we move toward the truth step-by-step, learning more through not-best solutions.

There are more interesting thoughts on how to challenge different types of team members, when to hire and fire, how to push it through the company. But I was more curious about the parts above, helping ordinary employees be more radically candor with themselves and everybody.

Strongly recommend it, after all.