in People Management ~ read.

A turd patty is better than a shit sandwich

I am finalizing Quarterly Evaluations for managers and team members at Growth Rocket who report to me. While I designed our evaluations to be loosely based on Google's OKRs (I know how celebrated OKRs are but I personally feel the framework lacks the fidelity and nuance I need to really gauge an employee's performance on more than one or two dimensions. This is a separate discussion in itself) I also designed it to make sure there is a lengthy 'discussion' section where a manager and the team member being evaluated can engage in what I hope to be candid dialogue.

Candor is something I peddle heavily within the team and is something I recognize as a huge improvement point for the organization. Speaking of candor, as I was filling up the 'discussion' section of my evaluations, I'm reminded of how much I hate the "Shit Sandwich" of delivering feedback. In case you don't know what the "Shit Sandwich" is, it's essentially delivering feedback in the "Good > Bad > Good" format-- you deliver one complimentary feedback, offer the critique or negative feedback then bookend it with another piece of positive feedback.

This was popularized by Ken Blanchard in his mawkishly contrived book "The One Minute Manager" and is, for some reason, still generally thought of as a good idea by people in management.

My problem with the Shit Sandwich is you are forced to think of positive things to say about a team member when there is none and all you can really deliver is a turd patty. There are much more productive ways to deliver negative feedback than the Shit Sandwich if your only fear is hurting people's feelings or causing them to raise their defenses.

Radical Candor is a framework is one such way and is a framework I am a huge fan of.

Coincidentally, Kim Scott, the Author of Radical Candor explicitly mentions that the next best thing to Radical Candor is "Obnoxious Aggression" which also means that, if you're left with no choice, serving a turd patty, while not ideal, is better than a Shit Sandwich.