I’ve written about the leadership book Radical Candor before. Radical Candor is often misunderstood as: “be honest with your direct reports.” But there is an important precursor to being honest: you need to develop a trusting relationship, understand the goals of people on your team, and to appreciate different flavors of goals. Some employees are on a steep growth trajectory (easy to recognize as “good”). While others are, by design, on a more steady growth trajectory.
Either way, taking time to understand the goals of the people on your team builds trust and thus helps you lead effectively and enroll them in achieving collective goals for the organization.
So how do you get started? Here are some tips from the Radical Candor website:
- Get feedback from others — Show everyone how you benefit from their candor. Lead by example.
- Give feedback — Remember to Challenge Directly and show that you Care Personally. Use our tips for moving towards Radical Candor, and make sure to find out how your feedback feels to the person receiving it.
- Encourage feedback — Take simple, visible actions to push your team to give each other praise and criticism.
If you do this, you are on your way to good communication, trust, and effective leadership. And if you don’t, you might reflect on how your current method is working (or not working) for you and for the members of your team.
Take it further
Tons of tools and tips on the Radical Candor site: here
“Buggy Whip” is an analogy that’s used to describe a technology that’s become obsolete in the face of a newer technology. Whips that were slung at buggy horses so that they would move faster were no longer needed when automobiles came on the scene.
But here where I live in Trumansburg, NY, there was a company called Morse Chain that was founded around 1890. They invented, patented, and produced rocker joint chains for bikes and buggies. And when the automobile came on the scene, the company adapted and used their capabilities to make chains for automobiles establishing an auto chain plant in nearby Ithaca in 1906. As you can imagine, the company grew exponentially. In the next ten years, the auto chain factory quadrupled in size. In years following, spinout factories were formed for airplanes and cash registers and clocks. And in 1929, Morse Chain joined the newly formed BorgWarner corporation. Today BorgWarner has 60 manufacturing facilities across 18 countries.
What’s the lesson here? When a new technology comes on the scene that feels threatening to your technology, take some time to think about whether you die like the buggy whips or evolve like the buggy chains.
Take it further:
Morse TEC timeline
BorgWarner on wiki
At present, I’m reading a leadership book called, The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups. In the book, the author claims that successful organizations have three things in common: They build safety, share vulnerability, and establish purpose.
Building safety is step one. How do we build it? We send a consistent stream of signals that reinforce the belief that people in the organization are connected. Coyle calls these “connection cues.”
In successful cultures, leaders continually provide a steady stream of small, powerful behavioral signals—we are connected; we share a future—that moves people away from selfish behavior, and creates cohesion and cooperation. Successful cultures aren’t smarter—they are safer.
What cues signal that safety is a priority for your organization? Here are a few tips from the book:
- Overcommunicate that you are listening
- “Yes.” “Uh-huh.'” “Got ya.” These cues encourage the speaker to go on
- Spotlight your fallibility early on, especially if you’re a leader. Open up, show you make mistakes
- “This is my two cents.” “Of course I could be wrong here.” ” What do you think?”
- Spark a response in the listener, “How can I help?” This invites participation
- Embrace the messenger
- If someone brings you bad news, embrace it. That way they know it’s safe to come to you when there’s a problem in future
- Overdo “Thank yous”
- Saying “thank you” is less about thanks and more about affirming the relationship and cueing safety, connection, and motivation
- Make sure everyone has a voice
Take it further:
Daniel Coyle website
Daniel Coyle at RSA (video)
Busy isn’t always productive.
Sometimes it’s better to choose one or two things and say no to the rest so that you can focus.
I’m sitting in on a Social Impact Analysis course hosted by Acumen. The course is project based and with my project, I’m exploring the question: How might we inspire more women to become inventors?
Some data on the problem here:
This is the title of a 2014 post by Inventor Sun Tianqi. In the post he asks the question: What if plants had more control over their behavior? He explores answers to this question in his robotoc and AI work. Hexa robot pictured above. See it in action here
TAKE IT FURTHER
The Plantoid Project
If you make a smart device, it’s likely that you’re not a gadget company, but rather, a data company. Customers don’t want the drill, they want the hole in the wall.
It’s becoming more well known that being an assertive woman in the workplace is not a quality that gets women promoted. Whether a woman’s manager is male or female, studies reveal that women who are assertive are perceived as abrasive compared to their assertive male colleagues who are perceived as decisive and confident.
There’s a lot of advice out there for women. One of the most popular books on negotiation tactics for women, Ask for It by Linda Babcock, suggests that women should be clear about what they want, but that they should ask for it in a “relentlessly pleasant” tone. To the author’s credit, she comes right out and says, “I don’t like it either, but the research shows that this tactic is highly effective.”
However, Babcock follows this statement with one that has a big hole in it. She writes that if enough women play the game and use the relentlessly pleasant approach to acquire positions of power, then perhaps when more women are in power, assertive women applying for jobs or asking for promotions will no longer have to play this game.
This claim is flawed because, as Babcock points out in an earlier chapter, both female and male managers are biased against women. If this bias magically goes away when more women are in leadership roles, Babcock fails to explain the magic.
So what do we do about this trap? I’m not sure. Perhaps negotiation advice for women should be focused less on individuals playing the game and more on communities of women having their eyes wide open and helping each other out.
Take it Further
The Abrasiveness trap: High-achieving men and women are described differently in reviews
On the fourth of July (yesterday), Tech CEO Ayah Bdeir wrote and shared a thoughtful piece on rethinking immigration: The Hottest New Space to Disrupt is Immigration.
Disruption is a term that is used a lot by folks in tech to describe a sector that’s ripe for change. Uber is disrupting transportation. Netflix is disrupting network television.
Who and what will disrupt immigration in a positive way?
Bdeir, raised in Beruit and schooled at MIT, believes in the entrepreneurial power of immigrants. Over half of US companies are founded by immigrants. The skills that immigrants acquire in adapting to a new home are exactly the skills they need to succeed in business.
When Trump’s travel ban was implemented in January 2017, Bdeir’s company littleBits placed an ad in Times Square–a highly visible, positive message that framed Arabic and Muslims in a positive and inventive light.
However, speaking out in this way has a real business cost. When Bdeir wrote a piece last week titled “Zero Tolerance for Zero Tolerance,” it was met with some backlash. Loyal customers wrote to her to say that they would no longer buy her product.
That said, Bdeir stands by her decision to use her voice, “History will judge us if we quietly allow our government to strip us of the diversity and innovation that make America so amazing.”
A true leader.