Radical Candor
Radical Candor

Episode 69 · 4 months ago

Radical Candor S4, Ep. 10: Get Shit Done Step 4 — Push Decisions Into the Facts


On this episode of the Radical Candor Podcast, Kim, Jason and Amy discuss how to make a decision after you've listened, clarified and debated your idea. Step 4 of the Get Shit Done Wheel, decide, is all about pushing the decisions into the facts. 

The Radical Candor Podcast team outlines 4 steps to follow when making decisions once you have shoved all ego — especially your own — out of the way. They also talk about the pitfalls of unconscious bias, the perils of skipping steps 1-3 and how to avoid garbage can decision-making.

Radical Candor Podcast Episode At a Glance

Once you have gone through the listening, clarifying and debating spokes of the Get Shit Done Wheel, you have likely lined up decisions and facts and (hopefully) shoved all ego — especially your own — out of the way.

Now is the time, as Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey put it, to “push the decisions into the facts.” Or as Kim says — how to help a team make the best possible decisions — or to “always get it right.”

Easier said than done. In a recent McKinsey survey, 61 percent of executives said that at least half the time they spent making decisions, much of it surely spent in meetings, was ineffective. And just 37 percent of respondents said their organizations’ decisions were both high-quality and timely.

So, how do you ensure you're making the right decisions in a timely manner? The best bosses often do not decide themselves, but rather create a clear decision-making process that empowers people closest to the facts to make as many decisions as possible. Not only does that result in better decisions, but it also results in better morale.

Radical Candor Podcast Checklist

  1. When making decisions, you’re not the decider (usually). Remember, kick-ass bosses don’t grab decisions for themselves, but rather create a clear decision-making process that empowers people closest to the facts to make as many decisions as possible rather than fostering a culture of garbage can decision-making.
  2. The decider should get facts, not recommendations before making decisions. Be aware and accept that we all bring biases to the table in every decision we make. Create a culture where it’s safe for people to bring “unwelcome” facts to the table.
  3. Go spelunking before making decisions. To mitigate bias as much as possible, make sure you’re getting to the source of the facts versus making decisions based on ego-driven or emotional recommendations.
  4. Finally, hold a Big Decision Meeting and make sure once the decision is final a careful summary of the meeting is distributed to all relevant parties.   

Radical Candor Podcast Resources

Hello everybody, because everybody does have a body. Welcome to the radical candor podcast. I'm Kim Scott, co founder of radical candor and just work, and I'm Jason Rose off, CEO and Co founder of radical candor, and I'm Ami Sandler, your host for the radical candor podcast. If you have been following along at home, we've taken a few breaks from our get shipped done wheel series, but today we're back with number four on the wheel, which is decide. So you've gone through the listening, clarifying and debating spokes of the get ship done wheel. You've likely lined up decisions and facts and hopefully, Kim, I don't know how big our hopes need to be, we have shoved all the ego, especially our own, out of the way. Does that actually have rappen? Is that the EGO has been shoved and we wouldn't really want to shove it totally out of the way. We just want to man it to our own egos, not other people's Egos, but our own egos, and we want systems that mitigate the odds that egos enter in unproductively. I think so. Today we will be exploring ego mitigation strategies and systems, ego mitigation strategies and systems, or, as twitter and square CEO Jack Dorsey put it, we want to push decisions into the facts. Kim, you also say you like to have that quote to always get it right rather than be right. Is that right? Am I getting you got it right? Well, would that it were so easy, but not so fast. In a recent Mackenzie survey, sixty of executive said and at least half the time they spent making decisions, and I think much of that is spent in meetings, at least half the time it was ineffective. And just thirty seven percent of respondents said that their organization's decisions were both high quality and timely. So we want to help. We want to help things be more timely, better quality more efficient. Kim, in radical candor, you talk about four steps to follow when making decisions. That's what we'll focus on today, and the first is that it's really important to understand that if you're the boss, you are actually usually not the decider. Tell us more. Yeah, I think one of the biggest mistakes that bosses make, all different kinds of bosses, ranging from the brand new manager to the president of the United States, former one. They think they're the decider, they think that's their job, is to make the decision, and that is incorrect. If you are the boss, you are not the decider and every time you make a decision you are actually robbing your team of building decision making muscle and you're probably making an information free decision. And why this happen? It's not because all bosses are more egotistical than the rest of the world, although they have more power to get corrupted by their egos. But as James March said in his book primary on decision making, he said when people are robbed of the opportunity to participate in a decision that is going to impact them and a decision for which they have valuable information, it feels like they get robbed of personhood. I mean it feels like a very personal and upsetting experience. And I think what happens naturally and organizations, unless we design organizations for justice, we get systemic injustice. But what happens naturally when you bring a group of people together and you give some of the people in that group more authority than others, then what happens is the people with authority tend to grab the decisions because they...

...hand, not because they have more information, but because they can. And when might makes right, there is no right. When might makes decisions, you get bad decisions. This is what James March calls garbage can decision making, and this is what happens when people who happen to be around the table, who happened to have more authority than others, make the decisions rather than the people with the best information. And this if you don't recognize that this is gonna Happen and take steps to prevent it from happening, this is what will happen. You will get garbage can decision making. And so that is why I think that the best leaders that I've encountered, the best bosses I've worked for and the best decision making systems that I've put in place involved an explicit acknowledgement that the most scene, your person, is not the decider. The job of the boss and a decision is to identify what the decision is and who will make it, but not to grab it themselves. Jason, as you hear Kim talk about garbage cans and ego mitigation strategies, I'm wondering do you have any stories where you have either seen someone grab the decisions and the negative consequences that have come from there, or someone who's done a really good job of not grabbing the decisions? Yeah, I was working with coaching client many years ago and he was laboring under the belief that it was his job to make decisions and there was a big sort of like complex technical decision. He was one of the most technically experienced people in the entire organization and he started saiding, you know, in order to save everybody time and effort, I'm just going to I'm going to examine the situation, I'm gonna make the decision, I'm gonna start the implementation. While his decision was technically sound, it was missing some very basic and from aation about like the data other teams were getting from the process that he was changing, and so he made it much more efficient and technically competent. Then He created all this work for these other teams that were relying on data being delivered to them in a particular way and the new system, the better system that he had designed. So like he got a lot of flak from that other team's manager. I understand why you wanted to make this decision, but you just basically made it so that you've cost my team weeks or months of work to Redo all of this other stuff. And this was a thing that everybody on his team knew because they had been working on this system for a really long time, right, so they knew exactly what the other team was expecting and they never would have made this decision. But in his sort of effort to save everyone time and effort, he cost him a significant amount of time. It's one of those things where his decision wasn't wrong. The designer he come up with was good, it was incomplete and the incompleteness was very costly and it was a moment for him. I remember very clearly as a moment for him where he sort of came back and he said, I feel like I've just learned something, but I don't quite know what it is right, which is like everybody's mad at me and I felt like I was doing everybody a favor taking this decision and making it so like, what is there to learn from this? And I think it was the fact that March would describe it as a garbage can decision. He did not have all of the information. He just happened to be in a position to make that decision and he had enough authority that people didn't feel comfortable challenging him. Right people didn't raise their hand and say that's a bad idea, you shouldn't do it that way. Yeah, I did. I did a version of the same thing one time and it wasn't around a technically complicated decision. It was around something that seemed so dumb that I couldn't believe people were spending time on it. So we're all in one big open space and we had just hired a bunch of people, so we need to reconfigure where everyone was sitting on this one big open floor and my God, the number of conversations and arguments and who was going to be near the window. It was going on and on and on and I was getting more...

...and more impatient. I was like, what is wrong with all these people? And so I came in on Saturday and I just moved everyone's desk. Time was wasted before I made that decision. The amount of time, the amount of groveling and apologizing was unbelievable. Just because you're in charge does not mean you're the decider. I remember being sort of upset about it and calling a mentor of mine who said, well, you know what Bill Clinton says about being the president of the United States, he said, and there are many problems with Bill Clinton, I don't want to hold him up as a great leader. That I were going on acknowledged at the time, but anyway, it's a funny quote, so I'm going to use it. He said being the president is a lot like being the overseer of a cemetery. There's a lot of people under you, but nobody's really listening, and I remember thinking that that was like a good thing for people to remember. Just because you're the boss doesn't mean that people are listening to you, it doesn't mean that people leave what you say and it doesn't mean that you know everything, and it's really it was an important like moment of managerial humility for me, humility in the sense that not that I was humiliated, but that I needed to remember that I didn't have the answers. Even some that seems simple. It's the mad the theme there of like both in the name of efficiency, I do something and then it causes severe inefficiency. I feel like that is a lesson that leaders have to learn over and over and over again. It applies not just a decision making. There's a lot of times to re feel and it's the whole point of the getting ship done wheel. I think you know, Kim, your story, especially around offices and thinking about plans for return to work and hybrid. One of the things, certainly Jason I, we've talked about, when people will feel really frustrated and think it's a feedback conversation, it's actually because they didn't follow the get ship done wheel. Of decisions were made about how to implement return to work and hybrid and people didn't feel included in decisions were made, et Cetera. So I'm curious, like Kim, looking at the world now with this situation of moving chairs on a Saturday like and now that you've created to get you done wheel, how would you do this differently now? I think that leaders feel like they have the right to decide where people work and I think increasingly, if they're listening to the feedback that they're getting from their employees and from the market, that is not the case. It goes back to this quote that we've used a lot of times that very often leaders feel like their employees are their pawns to move around on a chessboard and they that just does not work. That goes back to the telling people what to do does not work. If you have hired, presumably people because they have important information that you don't have, because they have some skills that you don't have, because they're doing work that you yourself don't have time to do, and if you don't make a space for them to make the decisions or to at least contribute to the decisions that are going to impact them, that they have information that will help improve the quality of the decision, then you're not doing your job as a leader. You're just tyrannical a whole. I don't have anything more to add on that. We've moved on from being assholes to tyrannical. A hole's in the next iteration of the book. I want to go back, Jason, to what you shared about the story and almost the safety element. People might not have felt psychologically safe to speak up to that person who is grabbing those decisions. So the second step in our decision making process is that the decider should get facts rather than recommendations before making decisions, and I do think psychological safety plays a part here. One of our favorite professors out of Harvard Business School, Amy Edmondson. She shared the story of how Ford CEO, Alan Mulally, when he soon after arriving at Ford, he encountered a real issue, which was that the company was losing billions of dollars. But in his staff meetings everyone would say there were no problems. And so he fig here to as a disconnect... He wanted people to color code their progress reports. Green, everything's fine, yellow, there's caution, read there are problems. And after a few meetings where all he got was green, he called them out on this and so he finally got a yellow report and everyone was panic. You know, how is he going to respond? And he applauded and so, given that feedback that he was going to welcome difficult facts, he started getting a lot more color variation in his meetings. So, Jason, what other tips you know learning from the Allen Milali story? What other tips do you have for managers to help ensure that they're getting all the relevant facts so people aren't afraid to share bad news? Well, I think one of the first things to do is to admit that you do not have the facts like that is step one. Is Like admit that there is a problem, which is I cannot possibly have all of the information needed to make a great decision about this, and so, in order to make a good decision, I'm explicitly asking for this input. I think that acknowledgement is quite important and I think when you are presented with facts that disagree, and maybe our intention with, even if they don't directly disagree with the supposition you had going into it as a decider or even as the leader who's identified the decider, I think it is really important to raise those up and examine them seriously. I was having a conversation with someone recently where they told me that they were having this challenge and their organization getting people excited about the idea of setting goals. There's people who are worried about this is going to be too much structure and this is going to be and so I said, did you note their objections, like, did you actually take them down and say, did you acknowledge those concerns in a meaningful way, or did you argue with their concerns? Because if you're the one who's driving the decision about how to do this and someone is raising a concern and the way that you in your acknowledgement of their concern and sort of a yes, but as opposed to like a yes and acknowledgement, it makes it really easy to fall into the trap that we talked about at the top of the episode, where people feel like their autonomy is being taken away because their point of view is not being considered. Simple things like when people bring facts, are you collecting them somewhere right or is it just like an ephemeral so a simple thing, like I was describing her something that we did very often in my previous organization, which was sort of like a hopes and fears collection when we were planning some new decision or we were making trying to decide what the parameters for a decision were would be, just to get people to write like what do you hope is going to happen if we make this decision and what are you afraid is going to happen if we make this decision, and that it was a really great way to bubble up facts because people would say, well, I'm afraid this is going to happen because this thing happened the last time we tried to make a decision about this. There's an important thing to consider here, which is that when you're asking for facts, when you're asking for information instead of recommendations, that is important and it's important because Egos don't get attached to facts, to information, to data, the same way that egos get attached to recommendations. But it also is important. There's another conflating two different ideas. So that's one idea. Another idea is the importance of getting bad news and getting bad news early, and one of the most important things is that. One of the things you can do with your teams is to think about the damage to your relationships when you get bad news late. So if you think on the vertical access is damaged your relationship, on the horizontal axis is time. And if something is due at time x and you tell someone two weeks before it's do that it's going to be late, like that's bad news, that's a fact, then it doesn't do that much damage to your relationship. I mean sometimes you don't get done what you thought you could get done, but if you tell them on the day it's due or day after it's due, even worse, that it's not coming,...

...then you do a lot more. I don't know about infinite damage to your relationship, but you do a lot more damage to the relationship building a culture of bad news early and celebrating it when people instead of punishing people. And the really important thing here, I think, is to make sure in decision making that you're not punishing people for, quote unquote, being negative, you're not punishing people for giving you bad news, that you're rewarding people for the bad news that they bring to you, the facts that get in the way of what you hoped would happen, the facts that prove what you hoped would be possible is not going to be possible. These are important facts for you to know as a leader and nobody will bring you those facts if you punish them when they bring you bad news. Facts really helpful and just to kind of separate out. So you're talking about facts versus recommendations as one way to get ego out of the picture. Then you're also talking about creating a culture around delivering bad news and actually celebrating it when you get the bad news with time to counteract it, so to shift gears a little bit. According to the Organization Board of Innovation, Nobel Prize winning research that was done by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. It popularized this term anchoring, and that refers to our deeply held biases. How they result in irrational decision making, which results in less creative thoughts, less creative decisions, and it causes us to jump to less than optimal outcomes. Our brains have evolved to instinctively reduce uncertainty and keep us on this safe path. Kim, you've spent years exploring the role of bias in the workplace, and so let's unpack. How does bias play into decision making? When you, as a leader, are not making a decision but wisely collecting information for a decision, it's really tempting to say to people, you know, what do you think we should do? What's your recommendation? And this is something I learned at Apple. There was a leader I worked with an apple who said, you know, I never ask folks for recommendations because when I do, then their egos get attached to that recommendation, then they really want that recommendation to happen, whereas when they bring relevant facts to a decision instead of a recommendation, then we're more likely to collaborate to create this sort of situation where we're not having a debate. I think we should do a, you think we should do be. We're going to get a fight and if we do a, then I win and if we do be, then you win. Like that's not invitational argument, shall we say. And so what they were trying to do is create a dynamic, create rules of engagement where people were much more likely to realize that they were all on the same side of the table, they were all trying to get to the best answer and that the facts that everyone was bringing to bear to the decision where we're going to help folks make a better decision. So in just work I talk about this idea of a rosarian argument or an invitational argument. I think it's really important that you're having those kinds of collaborative conversations instead of debates where there's a winner or a loser when you're making a decision. I'm curious whether Kim or Jason just to double click on some of the cognitive biases that we encounter in our decision making, for example anchoring bias, where we're relying too heavily on the first piece of information. We're given about a topic or Kim, I'm curious if what you're talking about this idea where we're recommending something that aligns with the status quo versus like being open to the possibility of looking for something better. Jason, what of the various cognitive biases that are out there, which there are many, do you feel like you've seen most frequently impact our decision? May King, I mean recency bias,... probably one of my favorites, where making a decision about something that has been going on for a long time. So let's take a simple example of something like we have forms on our website and occasionally we'll get feedback like hey, I had trouble working with your form, and we might have a discussion to say, okay, we need to make a decision. Should we update the form and change it? And it's going to be very tempting to like take that last piece of information that we got and make our decision based on that piece of information, as opposed to saying, well, what was underlying that piece of information? Is there a pattern that connects us through time to other people's experience, because this is like the problem with, for example, legislating around people's discomfort. So just because you were uncomfortable a minute ago, does that mean like it was the wrong decision getting to that place that made you uncomfortable, that something wrong? Your momentary discomfort is the most recent thing that happened, but maybe that was an important process and it was a right decision that led to that moment of discomfort. That goes both ways, obviously, like sometimes it's a pattern, and this is I think, one of the things that we see, especially for underrepresented folks and organizations, is like there are a lot of underrepresented folks having very similar experiences, and we use sort of like recency or sort of individual experience biases to say to discount them, as opposed to like looking at that pattern that connects them through time, whereas people in the majority or who are overrepresented, we tend to take their recent experience as being more representative of other people's experience and we take that more seriously. I think also we tend to have a bias towards the majority opinion. Majority, not in the terms of identity, but if eight people believe x and two people believe why, then there's a tendency to just immediately discount the two people who think why, and I think one of your jobs as a leader is, when you're making it a decision, is to make sure that the minority voice has a voice, that it doesn't just that it's not tyranny of the most verbose and it ties into the recency bias, it ties into the anchoring, listening to the first person more than the last person who spoke. I mean, all of these things are sort of of a piece, I think, and it can be frustrating. I was someone once gave me some feedback that I tended as a leader always to be biased towards the minority opinion, towards the thing that the fewest people thought, and that is true. I mean I do that with myself as well. It can slow my decision making down actually, but I think make sure that we're factoring in all of the different facts and thoughts around the table. So Jason Kim talks about the decider again. You are not. Usually the decider is the boss. Let me ask that. Does the boss decide who the decider is or how? What is the decision making process for deciding who the decider is? Yeah, we could go on. I mean the recommendation is for radical Kenner which is that in your staff meeting as the boss, one of the things I recommend that you do is to have a conversation, a quick conversation, about what are the three most important decisions that we as a team need to make this week and who's going to make them. And so you don't get you're only going to talk about this for a certain amount of time. So at a certain point you get to say, all right, here's what I'm hearing from you all. Here the three most important decisions, here's who the deciders are, and then you move on. Yeah, I would agree with that. I think, especially for smaller teams, it's important to like parcel at decisions who the decider is going to be pretty quickly. Otherwise you could endlessly decide on deciding. I think the other thing is there's an advantage that managers have, if they're doing their job well as which is they tend to...

...have a wider angle view of the organization and might be able to see fairly clearly, like hey, who's in a good position to make this decision, whereas like, it might be a bigger debate among other folks on the team. And it's not to say ignore their input, but that, if you're doing your job as a manager, knowing WHO's well positioned to make a decision should be one of the things that you're pretty good at. I think also another thing you can do as a leader is occasionally to make sure that you're honoring the facts, is to go deep on some of the facts and to quote unquote, ghost blanking, I think I call it, in radical candor. And the idea here is that very often what will happen with the leader is they're told or they tell themselves like, Oh, I'm above those details, I don't need to know that, and that is a disaster for honoring the facts, for are honoring the details. And when I was interviewing at Apple, someone gave me their business card and then they told me this story about Steve Jobs and the printing of the business cards. Now I would have thought that printing of business cards was a kind of decision that Steve Jobs would not be involved with, but no, he wanted different colored apples on all the different business card and the person who was making this decision was told by the printer it would be too expensive to do that, and so Steve got involved. He called up the printer himself, not to discredit the person who was making the decision, but because he was curious. He came up with the solution and he went to the person and the person executed. He didn't humiliate, I don't think, the person who was the decider on the business cards, and you never knew when he was going to go deep on some detail, and I think that's important. It keeps people, it honors the facts, it honors the details in a way it doesn't discredit them. It's really interesting. Kim In the last episode, Jason and I, while you were clearing the craft, we were talking about thought partnership and one of the conversations was around micromanagement, and I'm really curious how we distinguish between this spelunking and the business card story that you shared. And obviously Steve Jobs maybe the exception to a variety of different rules, but what is that distinction between sort of one person spelunking and another person's micromanagement? Jason, do you remember how you were talking about how micromanagement could be? Well, maybe you needed my help on this last project, but you really didn't need my help on this project. And the importance of checking in frequently on it, but I'm curious how that balance between spelunking and micro management lands for you, Jason. And Yeah, I think it's very touchy. And Kim's point about how the person feels at the end of that, like do they feel like, Hey, Steve Jobs just helped me do a thing that I wanted to do, is like probably how you get the answer to that question, whether or not it's micro management. I will say that if you're going to go spelunking, I think it's important to help people understand your intention. I'm guessing this May or may not have happened in the Steve Jobs example, but like to say you know, I care a lot about this and I'm willing to spend some of my time to see if I can get the printer do this for a last month. You know what I'm saying? Like there's a difference between saying I hear you on and go a little bit deeper, like I have a relationship or I feel like I could talk this printer down. Is Very different than, well, I hear you saying it's too expensive, like I'm going to go figure out how to make it cost less. Those two things feel different to me. You could argue that I was splunking when I moved all the cheers around, but I was not slunking. I was just reordering the chairs,...

...whereas if I had gone and asked a few questions, I would have realized that I should just butt out. I will give you an example of splunking done right. This also came from Apple. We were talking about sort of redesigning the talent management program and very often companies use the sort of is this a high potential person? And I thought that was the wrong word and I had said it a few times and I kept getting batted away. Uh, you know, you're going down a rabbit hole. You're going down a semantic rat hole. This is not a detail worth spending time on. And I was talking to Scott Forstall, who at the time was the leader of the IOS team, about this and I mentioned it and I was expecting him to also bat me away and say that's a detail that's beneath my attention. And he leaned into the table, he looked at me and he said words really matter. Let's think about it, and I was shocked that he was going splunking into an area that had nothing to do with IOS. Really talent planning mattered to him, but that was very empowering. It was a moment where I was like, ah, I care about this and he cares about it too. It matters. That's what's blunking is, is to reassure people working on details that may not have to do with your day to day that those details really matter and and honoring those details. Yep, I think it's great. That's a great distinction, a cool example of like difference between sort of helicopter management actually getting down into the details with somebody. Finally, the fourth key part of decision making is holding big decision meetings. Kim, you share in radical candor how the simple act of being explicit and conscious about when you're deciding rather than debating is actually the single most helpful way to figure out when a decision really needs to be made, and that's the main reason you recommend that debate and decide meetings be separate. But you've also shared that, someone who likes to get ship done, you struggle sometimes with putting debate and decision meetings together. So can you walk us through what you think are the ideal specifics of that decide meeting, knowing that sometimes things might get in the way of that. Yeah, I mean I think whether you decide to combine your debate and decide meetings or to have two separate meetings, the important thing is that each agenda item is clearly marked. If you decide to combine debate and decision meeting as one meeting because you can't stand an extra meeting on calendar, which I am sympathetic with, then what you want to do is you want to have three items and to mark very clearly which one is a debate and which one is a decision. It's a little simpler to have two separate meetings and then if you really hate meetings, you can cancel one some of the time. But Anyway, the key thing is that when you're talking about a top thing, one of the problems is that often half the room thinks that they're debating and the other half of the room thinks they're deciding, and then they're kind of piste off at each other for this Meta reason, which is the debaters think the deciders are moving too fast and deciders think the debaters are moving too slow and everybody is frustrated just at the pacing of the thing, and so it's really important to know at the end of this conversation we should be prepared to have it again, or at the end of this conversation we should be prepared to have a decision. That is the key thing and just that simple fact eased tension on a team that I was leading enormously. If people know the purpose of the meeting and what success actually looks like, the tension and any meeting goes down significantly, not just these. Yeah, Kim, when you talk about what Jason's amplifying of, what type of meeting are we in? Back to those chairs, I had the vision of you sort of spelunking into the chairs and moving them. It's a really good example.

So, rather than making that unilateral decision to move the chairs yourself over the weekend, would you have set a time and said this is the date by which we're going to decide about the office, or how would you have created a deadline in a way that people would have felt more buy in? So here's the truth of that story. They had already had a date. They already there was already a decider and there was already a date by when, like, the whole thing would have been ended on Monday if I had done nothing. So the team had already a big decisions process and but it hadn't made it to the big decision meeting because it was a small decision. When you go splunking, you're getting the facts, you're not grabbing the decision. I was spunking in the wrong way. I got no facts. I just grabbed the decision. I I was just being on a busshole. That's all. Well, I think it's a really great story, so thank you for sharing and just to share a little bit more on a personal note. We're a core team, six people, multiple contractors who aren't involved in the day to day operations of radical candor. So, Jason, how do you think about decision making when it comes to the radical candor team and then just two smaller teams in general? I think this is where all of this advice gets very tricky. Is like, at some point there's a scale at which some of this advice doesn't feel like it makes sense. The part that absolutely does make sense is knowing what you're doing and making sure people know what you're doing and in terms of like where you are in the decision making process or in the getting ship done wheel. More broadly, I think one of the surest ways to make everybody unhappy is to signal that you're gathering information but you've actually already made the decision. For example, one of life's most frustrating things, I think, is educating a new boss and educating new boss after new boss. By the time you get the third new boss you're educating, you haven't met that person yet but you already hate them. So a team I was working on had the third new boss, and the third new boss, who was, frankly, the biggest asshole in Silicon Valley, a quote unquote listening tour, which meant that everybody had to spend a bunch of time creating a bunch of slides to educate him, but he had already made up his mind what he was going to do and everybody knew it. That is a sure way to piss everyone off. Importantly, I think the reason why I so appreciate the fact that Kim laid this out is like it's important to have a model for how to operationalize decision making and how to communicate about decision making, and so knowing what the picture looks like overall is really helpful and important. As a small team. There are some things where it's like it's impractical to involve the team in a decision, even if it's a big decision. So at the end of last year I did a cop study to try to figure out how to match our compensation to market, for example. That process was not a thing I said I'm doing this, it's opening. It did involve experts, but they're outside experts. I paid for expertise from outside the organization to give me the facts and then I presented the results of that process to folks in the organization. But there wasn't a meaningful way for me to like involve people because we didn't have the facts, weren't internal. If I had a big organization and an HR team who had done other research on this, then I would say absolutely, I need to make sure that we're involving those voices, because those are the folks who are gonna have to represent this decision to all of the team members. And so now the sort of big debate meeting and the big decision meetings start to make a more sense in that context. So I think it's more about right sizing this and figuring out and honoring the process, but not necessarily following the process to the letter if you have a smaller team. That said, I still feel like there have been times when I have made decisions that I could have slowed down a little bit to speed things up. I made the same mistake that we're describing here, where I didn't get enough input from the team when I could have gotten more...

...input from the team. So it's still easy to make even as a small team, it's easy to try to right size this in the wrong direction and wind up with getting too little involvement. And so the way I think about this is like, as long as I can be clear, as long as I'm telegraphing my moves, it at least gives everybody the opportunity to say, Hey, I would like to be involved in that decision or I have input that I could offer. I feel like we have a good enough relationship that I can trust people to raise their hand when they feel like they have something that they want to add, and I would encourage other teams to do the same thing. It's like, if you're making a decision, telegraph the fact that you're making decision. If you're planning to implement something based on a decision, telegraph the fact that you're planning to influence something based on a decision that you've made, so that people do have the opportunity to give input. But, most importantly, just know where you are in the getting shipped done well and make sure other people understand where you are and make sure you're not making any decision unilaterally. Right there's never a good reason to make a decision entirely on your own. The comp thing is a good example. If I tried to make that decision on my own without retaining expert advice, would have made the wrong decision. There's no way I would have been able to do it, and also you would have allowed yourself to be overruled. I imagine if someone had objected strongly, or I know if I had objected strongly, we would have gone back and gotten more information and you had the data and the facts. You were doing that process and then broadening it out, and I do think, saying this since you are my manager, I would say one of the caveats for people listening to it is that you do create, going back to psychological safety, you do create a culture where people can say I disagree or I wanted to be included in that, where it is actually safe to say I want to be part of that decision. And Jason, the story that you had shared about the previous manager at your previous company where they just made the decisions and everyone is sort of feeling sad and bad and left out. We do have a culture where we are encouraged to speak up. So I think that's just an important corollary to what you're describing. But I think we should turn this around. Like amy and they were, there times when a decision got made that you felt excluded from but impacted by. I'll say one for me that Jason Changed last year was when we didn't have any set holidays. I think there's even been studies that people have unlimited time off take much less PTO, and I felt like, well, if my boss is working every holiday, I have to work every holiday. So I didn't feel like I would actually ever have any holidays off. And then Jason Actually recognized that and gave us holidays off, even though no one was saying like, you're bad, if I'm the only one taking holiday off, I feel like I'm not doing my job. That is a good one. I have an example and Jason, this is actually something I've shared in workshops, which is that there was an email that you had sent about some new project and I read the email and I remember thinking how surprised I was that you were leading this project and hadn't included me, because I thought, well, of course, given my role, I would be leading this project and it seemed really obvious to me, and so I said Hey, can we talk and I went into the conversation thinking that I would say, Oh, you know, I'm really surprised you sent that email and you would be like, of course, how could I have overlooked that? Amy But that wasn't what happened. What happened was you were like you were surprised and you said Huh. I remember you saying, you know, that you were frustrated and you were kind of processing your frustration and I was surprised that you were surprised and frustrated, and then I said, well, I'm surprised and now I'm feeling frustrated, and then we kind of went back and forth and I just thought it was such a great conversation because I really wouldn't have had that conversation and then for us to be able to go back and forth with sort of our emotional responses of how we were feeling. Like that's to me just such a great example of how I feel even closer to you, that we were able to have that discussion. But I'm curious you were a do you remember that? Do you remember? I think it was one of those situations where I was like, Oh, here's a thing like I would do mostly on my own...

...and try this thing out, sort of an experiment, and I'm going to run with it and when you share like you thought you would have been included, I think I was very it was clear in my mind like it was valid, what you were saying was valid, and I was trying to figure out why I felt so frustrated by because, to your point, normally I would think I would have been like sure, yeah, you're right, I should have just done this differently. But I think that it was an example of a very efficient form of the process that we're talking about, which is you said, hey, I have an expectation that if a decision is going to be made that affects me or the work that I typically do, that I'm going to be included in that decision. So like you had enough awareness of a good version of this. Look like to call me out and say, I don't think you followed the you didn't call to the contracts. Basically, like you didn't do your part, and it was helpful to me to recognize, like, why didn't I do like? Why didn't I do it? Like? What was the thing that was causing you to want to take a detour from the process that we would normally follow? And because we knew what good look to like and you were able to identify that we're making an exception, allows the two of us to have a really good conversation and figure out what the right next step was following that, and part of the right next step was to bring you into that process and have you be part of the conversation and figure out how to actually implement around the decision that had been made. So I feel like that's an example of it failing and then working. Everything we say works best when it fails and then works. Like failure is not failure. Failure is an opportunity to strengthen the relationship and fix the problem. Yep, I can't emphasize this enough. That's why it's so valuable to have the picture of the getting ship done wheel in your head, because you can know when something is failing. Not Knowing when something is failing is the failure condition that is most likely to lead to destruction of relationships and mediocrity or potential failure of business. Like not understanding or being able to rationalize our reason about failure is the thing that really undermines people relationships and come Benice, you can't do right if you don't know what you're doing wrong, which is why, anyway, I want to come back to the question of size of team. I think that if you're a team of forty people are under you probably don't need a formalized big decisions process. I mean we do not write down the big decisions and have a big decisions meeting. That's a team of six, it would be. Jason, you had a good analogy about two spins of flower in a tent. I don't know. I would always hear when we were trying to figure out what features to implement in a piece of software, is we're trying to stuff ten pounds of flour in a five pound bag. And I said the reverse can also be true, which is like sometimes you have a process container that's so big that, like when you put two scoops of flour and it's just sort of like like why are we in this giant container and like why are we trying to do all this stuff? Exactly? Not a lot of help. It's not doesn't feel like it's securing you very well. Yeah, so I think that what I would say when the size of team, roughly the time that I needed to implement the big decisions meeting and the big debate meeting, was around forty people. It was around that time when I had managers of managers and I had a staff meeting and my direct reports were in the meeting and their direct reports were not in the meeting, and that is the moment, for me at least, which everyone in the meeting felt like it was a waste of time and everyone not in the meeting felt sad and bad and left out. And that was when we needed the big it meant we were making too many decisions and not involving enough people, and that's when you need a more formal process. That usually happens around forty six people, something like that. I love that. Yeah, that's so helpful. It's time for radical candor checklist tips you can use to start putting radical candor into practice. Kim, do you want to kick us off? Yes, when it comes to decisions, if you are the boss, you are not the decider. Me Repeat that, you are not...

...the decider. The boss is not the decider. Remember, great bosses don't grab decisions for themselves, but rather they create a clear decision making process that empowers people closest to the facts, that pushes decisions into the facts, that empowers those people to make as many good decisions as possible, rather than fostering a culture of garbage can decision making. Tip Number two, the decider should get facts, not recommendations, before making decisions. Be Aware and except that we all bring biases to the table in every decision we make. So create a culture where it's safe for people to bring unwelcome facts to the table. The number three goes blunking before making decisions. To help mitigate bias as much as possible, it's helpful to make sure you're getting to the source, the underlying information of the facts that are being presented and making decisions on those as opposed to some factor an idea that might be more ego driven. Are Emotional and tip number four. If you have a team of more than say, fourty or sixty people. Hold a big decisions meeting every week and make sure that once the decision is final, a careful summary of the meeting is distributed to everyone who has a stake in that decision and that they're invited to the meetings should they want to come. All right. Well, for more tips, go ahead to radical candor dot com, slash resources to download our learning guides to practice radical candor. You can learn more about the decision making process we just discussed in chapters four and eight of radical candor. The show notes for this episode. You can find them at radical candor dot com, slash podcast. If you like what you hear, go ahead rate and review us on Apple podcasts. Feel free to reach out to us at podcast at radical candor dot com. And if you haven't yet, I don't think it's possible, but if you have not yet ordered Kim's latest book, over to you, Kim. We haven't heard you in a while, to speak it out loud. The name of your book. Just work how to root out bias prejudice in bowling to create a kick ass culture of inclusivity, and that's available everywhere books are sold. Finally, the radical candor store. I think it's been open now for a while, so go to radical candor dot com, click the shop link at your radical candor swag and buy for now. Take care of a bobby. Thanks for joining us. Our podcast features radical candor co founders Kim Scott and Jason Rose. Off is produced by our director of content, Brandy Neal, and hosted by me, Amy Sandler. Music is by cliff Goldmacker. Go ahead and follow us on twitter at candor and find US online at radical candor dot com. School Foo.

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