As many of you know, the unofficial company handbook at Bridgewater Associates is a book of guiding principles called, wait for it, Principles. It was written by founder Ray Dalio and includes passages such as:
- "...when a pack of hyenas takes down a young wildebeest, is that good or evil? At face value, that might not be “good” because it seems cruel, and the poor wildebeest suffers and dies. Some people might even say that the hyenas are evil. Yet this type of apparently “cruel” behavior exists throughout the animal kingdom. Like death itself it is integral to the enormously complex and efficient system that has worked for as long as there has been life. It is good for both the hyenas who are operating in their self-interest and the interest of the greater system, including those of the wildebeest, because killing and eating the wildebeest fosters evolution (i.e., the natural process of improvement)."
- "Never say anything about a person you wouldn’t say to him directly. If you do, you’re a slimy weasel. Badmouthing people behind their backs shows a serious lack of integrity. It doesn’t yield any beneficial change and it subverts both the people you are bad mouthing and the environment as a whole. Next to being dishonest, it is the worst thing you can do at Bridgewater. Criticism is both welcomed and encouraged at Bridgewater, so there is no good reason to talk behind people’s backs."
Some who've experienced the tenets of Principles up close and personal feel the emphasis on criticizing people to their faces, often in front of their peers, as way to get to the truth/avoid group think is simply an excuse for employees to "dig on and destroy other individuals and say whatever...you hate about them."
Others, like the guy who penned Principles, obviously do not.