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Inspiring growth – Highwire’s Agency-Wide Radical Candor Training

Highwire was built to be an agency that prioritizes collaboration, teamwork and collegiality as much as progress and client success. In order to grow our own careers, honest feedback is critical, but the process of sharing and receiving feedback can be awkward, uncomfortable and even harsh. Giving and receiving feedback is something we all need to improve on as we look to grow our careers.

As part of Highwire’s diversity and inclusion initiative to learn to work better together, the entire agency recently learned the ins and outs of Radical Candor from Joe Dunn at Radical Candor, LLC. Radical Candor is the ability to challenge directly and show you care personally at the same time while delivering feedback.

Giving a training to both our East Coast and West Coast staff, Joe provided the agency with the tools to provide effective feedback and strengthened our agency’s culture of feedback. Here’s how we’re embarking on working better together.

Why’s it important?

“Radical Candor gives us a framework to have the conversations that keep us true to our best intentions and ensures that we are moving forward, together,” said Carol Carrubba, principal at the agency. “Those that practice radical candor and take the chances now will be more likely to get what they want in the future.”

It’s easy to get carried away talking to teammates over Slack, text and email –  especially since it’s an avenue to avoid uncomfortable face to face conversations. This is not effective. Radical Candor has given us shared language and tools to drive our careers and have those necessary conversations, even when it’s not easy.

The recent trainings on Radical Candor did more than provide staff the format and tools to give effective feedback – it was also an opportunity to carve out time for feedback in our minds and make others feel confident delivering and receiving feedback.

“If something is bothering me, I have a tendency to let it sit,” said Ali Wilson, intern in the agency’s San Francisco office. “This training has inspired me to deal with challenges as they come and to communicate with my teams, managers and colleagues frequently, honestly and openly about any challenges I may be facing.”

How we’re embracing it

Change isn’t something that can happen overnight. But according to Dallas Ripka, account executive in the New York office, she’s actively working to implement what we learned.

“Since our training I’ve been striving to give and receive feedback more candidly” said Ripka. “The training opened my eyes to the importance of having more one-on-one conversations with teammates in-person or via phone. I’m asking more of my teammates for direct feedback and look forward to more collaborative conversations that act as opportunities for growth.”

But to truly embrace the model for giving feedback, we were asked to bring one piece of feedback to the half-day workshop that we’ve been avoiding or delaying. In small groups, we applied the Radical Candor model to learn how to give this feedback effectively.

“I’ve been trying to find a way to give feedback to a teammate for a while now but was nervous with how they would take it,” said Ashley Angello, senior account executive in New York. “I was finally able to have this conversation using Radical Candor and I’m glad I did because it opened up a better rapport with this person overall.”

As we continue to grow our careers, try new things and work with new people it is important that we strengthen our culture of feedback and inclusion at Highwire. This training is another example of the work our team is doing to not only effectively provide feedback internally, but externally as well.

“We’re masters of words and need to get better at ensuring we use our words in the best, most transparent and productive way with each other,” said Meredith Klee, vice president in San Francisco.

Curious about being part of something different? See our open opportunities here, or reach out to a Highwire Walker to learn more.