On Sunday, September 10, 2017, the New York Times published an article captioned asÂ â€œBridgewaterâ€™s Ray Dalio Spreads His Gospel of â€˜Radical Transparency’â€. Â The article purports to be a fuller examination of Dalioâ€™s social experiment at Bridgewater Associates in comparison toÂ similar articlesÂ by the New York Times. Â The above article appears on the eve of his September 19, 2017 publication ofÂ Principles: Life & Work. Â In the article, I was quoted as stating, â€œ[t]his whole transparency and truth-seeking thing is juxtaposed with the fact that they intentionally secretize all interactions with employees from public view.â€
I enjoy taking issue with Dalioâ€™s principles and the adverse personal impact they have had on employees at Bridgewater Associates. Â From my vantage point, I can see exactly what takes place inside the organization, including the fallout from poor, arbitrary, discriminatory and self-minded management decisions. Yes, Bridgewater is transparent to â€¦an employment attorney like myself.
CANâ€™T GET IN SYNCH- YOUR FIRED!
Frankly, I cannot take Principles seriously given the ample contradictory evidence I have seen. For example, Principle 20 is titled â€œConstantly Get In Synchâ€. Â I have repeatedly read accounts that this principle is used to throw other employees under the bus. Â Employees are too quick to hear the other side and grade others as â€œnot getting in synchâ€, resulting in a negative score in their personnel file. Â Under the same umbrella, Principle 26 states â€œrecognize that conflicts are essential for great relationships because they are the means by which people determine whether their principles are aligned and resolve their differences.â€ Â I have seen cases where Bridgewater has used this principle to deter employees from making legitimate discriminatory complaints regarding their own employment, only to be terminated shortly thereafter. Â I have seen legitimate discrimination cases where Bridgewater took no action to resolve them internally before the conflict erupted into a legal dispute, or maybe that was the intended result. Â This result conflicts with Principle 25 which states â€œRecognize that getting in synch is a two-way responsibilityâ€. Â I have only seen employees who have felt the brunt of the one-way communication policy that exists at Bridgewater, which becomes even narrower when employees escalate to management when they â€œcanâ€™t get in synchâ€. Principle 36 states â€œIf you canâ€™t understand or reconcile points of view with someone else, agree on a third party to provide guidance. This person could be your manager or another agreed-upon, believable person or group who can resolve the conflict objectively, fairly, and sensibly. This mechanism is a key element of our culture and crucial for maintaining a meritocracy of ideas.â€ Â Honestly, the only objective and believable person in the conflicts brought to my attention was â€¦.well me! Â If your manager is discriminating against you, please donâ€™t believe that management at Bridgewater will take your side. Â You will be tossed to the curb without notice under the accusation that your refused to â€œcross-overâ€ to the other side or you werenâ€™t a â€œbelievableâ€ person.
TRUST IN TRUTH IS MISINFORMATION
Â â€œTrust in Truthâ€ is the number one principle at Bridgewater, but nothing could be further from the truth. Dalio states â€œbeing truthful, and letting others be truthful with you, allows you to explore your own thoughts and exposes you to the feedback that is essential for your learningâ€ (Principle 2) and â€œopenness leads to truth and trust.â€ (Principle 4). Â If these three laudable values are uniformly and consistently followed by the company, then the following practices violate all of them. Â Bridgewater uses confidentiality and arbitration agreements to quell anyone from expressing the truth about what internally occurs at this company. Â Any employee leaving the company for any reason is forced to sign a one-sided settlement agreement that contains a confidentiality provision. Â The company demands such confidentiality in exchange for severance pay, settlement money, releases from noncompetition agreements or to receive profit sharing payments, no different than any other company. Â Dalio and the company should be openly transparent with the public about internal employee complaints, not shield them forever in confidential settlement agreements and in private arbitration filings. This is especially true when Bridgewater is the fiduciary of public funds. Â How can â€œweâ€ the public trust in Dalioâ€™s truth when â€œweâ€ are not being given the full weight of the evidence to decide for ourselves; we canâ€™t and we are not in synch! Â More important, how can â€œweâ€ confirm that employee feedback was taken seriously and the company learned from its own mistakes? As long as there is no openness, there is no trust among â€œwe the peopleâ€.
New York Times Article Mentions Mark Carey and Bridgewaterâ€™s Ray Dalio Spreads His Gospel of Radical Transparency. If you would like more information about this topic, please contact our employment lawyers in Connecticut and New York, Carey & Associates PC at 203-255-4150.
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