Getting to Yes, And

Kim Scott: Just Work


Kim Scott

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Kelly has a friend of the pod, Kim Scott on to talk about her fantastic new book, "Just Work: Get S**t Done, Fast and Fair."

In this book you do a lot of truth telling and that includes truth telling on yourself.

“This book was born right after I published Radical Candor. I was giving a presentation in San Francisco at a tech company and the CEO of that company was an old friend of mine and a former colleague, and one of two few black women CEOs in tech. And after I gave a presentation, she pulled me aside and she said, ‘Kim I gotta tell you, I really like Radical Candor -I think it's going to help me create the kind of culture I want, but it's much harder for me to put it into practice than it is for you. And I'd be willing to bet it's harder for you to put it into practice than it is for your husband who's a white engineer in Silicon Valley.’ And she said ‘When I offer someone even the gentlest, kindest, most compassionate criticism I very often get slimed with the angry black woman stereotype.’ And I knew this was true and I felt like my head was going to explode.”

One of the things I appreciated about the book is how you make us confront the differences between bias, prejudice and bullying.

“Yeah, so I don't love long definitions, so I'm going to give you some super short definitions: bias, to me, is not meaning it; prejudice, to me, is meaning it; and bullying is being mean. So there's an urgent world of difference between these three things and there's a world of difference in the way that we need to respond to these things.”

In our work we talk a lot about assuming good intent, but there’s another side to that, right?

“Yes, I also think that it is a useful attribute to be able to try to assume good intent, but I also think that can be weaponized sometimes. If I make a mistake and then I tell someone else to assume good intent of me, I think that's also kind of a refusal to listen. I mean imagine a simple example: I am stepping on someone's toes and someone says, ‘You're stepping on my toe!’ I would not continue to step on their toe and say, ‘Well, I didn't mean to step on your toe.’ I would get off the damn toe. And so I think that it's really important to assume good intent of others, but not to demand that they assume it of us.”

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