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October 15, 2018

Meaningful relationships through radical transparency


Adam Grant is a professor at Wharton University of Pennsylvania. Professor Grant tasked his MBA students to determine which Fortune 500 company had the best culture. Armed with Wharton credentials and resources the students launched into the project, flying around and visiting company to company collecting their culture and performance data. When the Wharton MBA student debates ended, Bridgewater Associates, Ray Dalio founder and Chairman, is a $150B, HQ in Connecticut, and the top-performing hedge fund. What made Bridgewater the best culture? Baseball Cards! Baseball Cards? Yes, Baseball Cards.

Every person in the company has a personal Baseball Card with agreed performance measures and values that are updated 24/7, by subordinates, peers and leadership. Starting with Ray Dalio himself. A recent entry on Ray, the Chairman of the Board’s card, “Ray – you scheduled a meeting and planned for 30 minutes, but you came unprepared and rambled your way through. The meeting lasted 90 minutes and was a major waste of my time. You earned a 1 for organizational skills and preparation. Try harder next time.” Pete, Manager in IT.

Leaders struggling to provide the level of development and feedback the millennial generation is demanding – Baseball Cards might be your solution. Providing everyone with a voice and creating a high level of transparency is empowering, engaging and leaves no room for disgruntled and underperforming team members. Weak leaders beware: this culture is not made for the underperforming leaders who prefer fiefdoms where everyone lies about the greatness of their leader and in return, the leader covers for underperforming people.

This book is a fantastic read. I have found the explanation of the structure and implementation to be excellent in simple language. As a team, we are 3 months into adopting the systems with great results. I walked a few Presidents and CEOs through the book with solid early results. Best of luck on your journey creating meaningful relationships through radical transparency.

With every breath keep growing – Tony

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