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One of the executive book briefings that we hosted last month for our monthly staff training and development day was a book called "Radical Candor" by Kim Scott. Kim Scott has significant experience working for Google and Apple as well as other successful corporations. I was so impressed with the briefing of the book that we have handed out copies of Radical Candor to many of the managers and supervisors in the organization to read.
I think what really struck me about this book is that it plays right into the culture of coaching that we are trying to create here in the Town. The book does a really good job of defining what makes a successful coaching culture possible and identifies some of the obstacles that can prevent it from occurring. The book discusses the fact that all of us truly need guidance in order to develop and be our best. Unfortunately, we often get caught up in conversations that “beat around the bush” and that don’t truly address the issues. This leads to very negative relationships because it ultimately results in resentment. Small coaching conversations that need to happen on a continual basis end up being ignored and turn into big blow ups when they are finally addressed.
Scott addresses the need for leaders and team members to have a strong level of trust but that we should not be afraid to set a high bar for results and challenge behaviors directly. This happens at all levels of the organization, up, down and laterally, not just between managers and subordinates. She also believes that an essential part of coaching is to make sure and praise heavily, but be detailed with praise so that you are praising what is actually great about the behavior.
I truly believe that the concepts discussed in Radical Candor are great tools for our organization to truly excel in a culture of constant coaching. I believe that we must all be willing to coach and also to be coached, and we should strive to build the level of trust where we can have coaching conversations at all levels without taking offense to these conversations or taking them personally. None of us should ever be satisfied and think that we are as good as we can be. To truly achieve excellence and seek constant improvement we all need to provide and receive candid feedback.