Ray Dalio, president of hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, runs his business in a manner that's new to me. Three years ago, Ray wrote down a set of 295 life and management principles, which now serve as signposts for his employees.
Mr. Dalio's basic philosophy is what he calls "hyper-realism," a notion that brutal honesty, no matter how uncomfortable, yields the best results. Principle No. 8: "There is nothing to fear from truth....Being truthful is essential to being an independent thinker and obtaining greater understanding of what is right."
At Bridgewater, being truthful also requires being a bit ruthless. Employees aren't allowed to talk critically about someone unless the person is present. Principal No. 11: "Never say anything about a person you wouldn't say to him directly. If you do, you are a slimy weasel." If an employee breaks the rule three times, they can be fired.
"Most people actually love this rule,'' says Mr. Dalio.
Recordings of company meetings are stored electronically in what some employees call a "transparency library," and many can be listened to by any of the firm's 1,000 employees.
At a recent staff meeting in a Bridgewater conference room, Mr. Dalio blasted a department head who admitted he'd given an employee a better performance rating than he deserved. "Telling me what I want to hear creates a sugar addiction," said Mr. Dalio, who was wearing chinos, boat shoes and a company name badge with the word "Ray" in big letters.
You can download your own copy of Dalio's paper "Principles" here, which includes 210 principles.
Featured image: via Dealbreaker.