transparent criticism in company culture

Should your employees be criticizing each other? Withholding information happens almost all the time, because you don’t want to come across as a mean person. What if you were completely honest while giving criticism? Today I will be speaking about Transparent Criticism in Company Culture.

Turns out this is actually much better in a business culture than trying to not hurt anybody’s feelings… Why? Because it completely eliminates what is known as ‘Group Think’. Group Think is when large groups of people tend to agree with one another since they do not want to become a non-conformist in the group. To better explain this I would like to look into a company called Bridgewater Associates.

Bridgewater Associates

Bridgewater Associates is the biggest hedge fund in the U.S. In 2010, it’s returns exceeded the combined profits of Google, eBay, Yahoo, and Amazon. The company culture is that every employee is encouraged to stand up and argue for elements which they do not agree with. This instills complete transparency in the workplace, and eliminates Group Think.

When employees share independent viewpoints instead of conforming to the majority, there’s a much better chance that Bridgewater will make investment decisions no one else has considered. This will recognize financial trends no one else has discerned.

The Founder and CEO of Bridgewater, Ray Dalio (the Steve Jobs of investing), has a refined set of management and life principles by which he embeds into each employee. Click on ‘principles’ and have a read through, you may find it quite interesting. Since he is a master at taking criticism, he encourages it. Therefore, criticism is given for the decisions that he makes, and if none is given, then he knows that something needs to be changed.

Every employee at Bridgewater has a believability score. Opinion voicing is weighted by whether you’ve established yourself as believable on that dimension.  Judgment, reasoning, and behavior in the past, all add up to your believability score. Therefore, the amount of authority given to your opinion is then proportional to the score which you have been given.

Some emails sent to Ray from employees are quite harsh, but he still shares them with the company in order to improve. Since he seems to love Criticism, he believes in it fully!

Being Transparent in Life

Would being completely honest and giving criticism work outside of the workplace? I believe that to be true to some extend. I personally feel terrible when getting criticism, but that is something in which I need to improve on. Being able to take the heat with criticism is an admirable trait.

As of today I will start being slightly more honest with people, and being honest when asking for criticism when I make mistakes.

Watch this video to learn more about the culture at Breakwater.



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