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Just Work summary

Kim Scott

How to Root Out Bias, Prejudice, and Bullying to Build a Kick-ass Culture of Inclusivity

3.5 (155 ratings)
28 mins

Brief summary

Just Work by Kim Scott is a management guide that offers practical and inclusive approaches to building a more equitable workplace. It emphasizes communication, feedback, and creating a culture of respect for all employees.

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    Just Work
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    Staying silent has hidden costs.

    The author Kim Scott was preparing to give a talk about “Radical Candor” to a group of Silicon Valley executives. As she was about to step on stage, a man ran up to her shouting that he needed a safety pin for his shirt which was missing a button.

    Why was this her problem to solve for him? Evidently, he’d mistaken her for one of the event staff. Scott didn’t know how to respond. Was he exhibiting unconscious bias, and assuming that because she was a woman she must be on the staff? Or was it evidence of deeper prejudice? Or was he just bullying her, trying to put her in her place and show her that he didn’t respect her as a speaker?

    Unsure how to approach the situation and fearing a conflict, Scott remained silent. This was bad for everyone. It was bad for her – she felt a loss of agency. It was bad for the man who’d asked her for a safety pin – he didn’t learn about his bias, if that was indeed what was behind his demands. It was bad for the staff, since the man felt he’d gotten poor service from Kim, who did not fetch him the safety pin he wanted.

    There are many reasons to stay quiet instead of responding to such a situation. You may have valid fears that speaking out will land you in trouble. Or the very same attitude you’re experiencing might make it harder to be heard. Some people aren’t “allowed” to express feelings in the way that others are – they’re constantly stereotyped as being “over-sensitive” or “angry.”

    But keeping quiet has its costs as well. You’re left to deal with the resentment and no way to express it. Your relationships with your colleagues may suffer, too. And the person demonstrating the problematic attitude will have no opportunity to recognize and change their behavior.

    To learn more, please read Chapter 2 in Just Work. Click here to buy the book. 

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    What is Just Work about?

    Just Work (2021) reveals just how damaging unchecked bias and discrimination are in the workplace. Everyone has unconscious biases and prejudices that they bring with them to work. But if these aren’t confronted head-on they can create a toxic work environment with unhappy employees who can’t do their best. Tackling bias is a win for everyone.

    Just Work Review

    Just Work (2021) by Kim Scott explores the complexities of workplace dynamics and provides practical solutions for creating a more inclusive and equitable environment. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Full of insightful anecdotes and real-world examples, it offers actionable strategies for fostering diversity and inclusion at work.
    • With its straightforward approach and no-nonsense advice, the book cuts through the noise and gets to the heart of the issues plaguing modern workplaces.
    • By challenging conventional thinking and offering fresh perspectives, Just Work inspires readers to question established norms and work towards positive change.

    Best quote from Just Work

    Challenging injustice is so important – if we dont challenge it, we often start to internalize it.

    —Kim Scott
    example alt text

    Who should read Just Work?

    • CEOs wanting to create thriving workplaces
    • Anyone who’s experienced workplace harassment, and wants tools to address it
    • Workplace bullies who want to confront their prejudices

    About the Author

    Kim Scott is the author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal best seller Radical Candor and cofounder of the company of the same nameShe was a senior executive at Google for many years and has worked as a CEO coach at Dropbox and Twitter. She was also part of the faculty at Apple University.

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    Just Work FAQs 

    What is the main message of Just Work?

    The main message of Just Work is to create a more equitable and inclusive workplace by addressing bias and fostering communication.

    How long does it take to read Just Work?

    The reading time for Just Work varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in about 15 minutes.

    Is Just Work a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Just Work is a valuable read for anyone looking to improve workplace dynamics. It provides practical insights and guidance for promoting fairness and collaboration.

    Who is the author of Just Work?

    Kim Scott is the author of Just Work.

    What to read after Just Work?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Just Work, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Radical Candor by Kim Scott
    • Jerks at Work by Tessa West
    • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick M. Lencioni
    • The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss
    • The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety by Timothy R. Clark
    • Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers by Robert M. Sapolsky
    • Atomic Habits by James Clear
    • Think Twice by Michael J. Mauboussin
    • The Art of Positive Thinking by Elizabeth R. Brown
    • Adult Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Stephanie M. Kriesberg