KIM, Yakutia, Moscow discussed on Wisdom From The Top


The demand for future of work consultants has skyrocketed in the wake of the pandemic. In a large part of it has been driven by employees and their expectations around work. When I got started in radio back in the 1990s, the advice I was given be the first one in, the last one out, outwork, everyone else, roll with the punches, don't complain, and you'll succeed. But today, that advice just won't fly. The evidence is clear. All kinds of employee surveys that have been carried out over the past year or so show that our relationship to work is changing, especially among younger workers. They don't want to be married to their jobs. They don't want to live to work. They want a fulfilling, healthy, balanced life, to clock out at 6 p.m. and leave work at work, especially on weekends. Employees at big companies are speaking up and speaking out, standing up against management decisions, organizing and taking back a lot of power. Now, all of this may seem new, but my guest today, Kim Scott might call it the latest iteration of radical candor. Kim's book called radical candor lays out an argument that calls for more honesty, more humanity, and a healthier balance of power in the workplace. Kim spent much of her early career working at a series of startups before she went to Google in 2004 to manage its advertising business. In 2011, she joined Apple, where Kim was asked to train managers on how to lead with kander. It's an approach she learned the hard way after years of making mistakes of her own. But even so, Kim didn't go to college thinking she was going to be some big shot business guru. In fact, her plan was to fight the Cold War as a Slavic literature major. That's absolutely right. I studied arms control and I was going to I was going to end the Cold War. And look, I succeeded. But with that with studying Slavic literature, what was your idea? I mean, did you intend to go into academia in some form? No, I never intended to go into academia. It seemed to constricting. But what I had a very clear idea that I was going to understand the Russian culture and the American culture and help us all get along. So that was my, that was my 18 year old ambition. Tell me about this job that you had out of college because from what I understand it was you went to go work for a diamond company, which eventually would morph into a diamond business. Yes. Yes. So initially, actually I went to Moscow was then the Soviet Union to study armed military conversion, which is swords into plow shares. So I was writing an article for which I was paid $6 a month. About this. And that turned into a job with the Soviet companies fund, which was a fund started by battery march financial management to invest in these converting Soviet defense facilities. And then that ended when the Soviet Union fell. So I stayed looking for a job and wound up working for a diamond cutting company. Which was, which was not really what I expected when I studied Slavic literature, but life takes unpredictable turns. Because actually Moscow is the center of diamond cutting, like some of the great, right? Yeah, the diamonds are actually mined in yakutia, which is in the far east and Russia and mostly north of the Arctic circle. And that is where the diamonds are mined, but then they're cut and polished in Moscow, a bunch of them. Something like a quarter of the world's diamonds come from yakutia. Your job was to gather recruit diamond cutters who already had jobs and to convince them to come work for this American based company? Yeah, this was my first management job, actually. And I thought it was going to be so easy. I just waved some dollars out, right? Yeah. Yeah. The ruble was worthless and worth less and less every single day. And I had dollars. And I thought, you know, as soon as I just told these people, what I was going to pay them, that they would come work for me. But that, of course, was not how it played out. It turned out they wanted a picnic. They didn't just want the money. So I'm on the outskirts of Moscow, drinking a bottle of vodka with these diamond cutters. And by the time we finished the bottle of vodka, it becomes clear to me that what they wanted was not just money. They wanted to know that they would have a boss who gave a damn. They wanted to know that if things went to hell in Russia, which they felt like they might do it any moment, there would be someone on the outside who had helped get them them and their families out who would really care. And this was the moment in my life when I thought, oh, management is more interesting. This whole, this whole idea of management is actually it's about human relationships and that's why I studied in addition to wanting to save the world from nuclear Holocaust. That's why I studied Russian literature. Because human relationships are really endlessly interesting. So this experience in severe nascent experience in management in your early 20s must have kind of sparked something because you did this for a couple years and then decide to go to business school. Yes. I mean, to be honest, part of the reason I went to business school was it was the shortest of all the next steps I could take. And it seemed to have the most wide open exit options. So I knew I didn't want to be a lawyer. I knew I didn't want to be a doctor. I had no idea what I wanted to do. So I was like, but I knew I wanted to leave. I've been in Russia at this point for four years. One mafia was beheading its competing mafia and leaving the heads on stakes around the suburbs of the city. And I thought, you know, this is a good time to get out of here. All right, so after working in Moscow, you decided to go to business school. And after getting your MBA at Harvard, you go right to work for a company called Delta three, right? Yeah, based in Jerusalem. Now I was back 20 years ago as a correspondent there. So I know that Israelis can be very blunt. They don't. They tell you exactly what they think. And this was kind of shocking for you when you got there, right? Because when you got to this company, because you weren't used to that kind of direct, almost aggressive feedback. Yeah, no, I had been raised in the south. And so, you know, I was definitely taught if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. And that was certainly not the, that was not the attitude. And I really, it really was, this was good management, actually. I did see some good management at Delta three. Noam bardin, who wound up was the CTO. He wound up starting ways, actually, was the CEO of ways. And I remember watching him argue with his with his team. And I remember thinking, you know, he really respects these people. And when he when he disagrees vehemently it's a sign of respect. It's not a sign of disrespect. Because initially, you're thinking, this is unlike anything I've experienced, but people, you write.

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