Exploiting Chaos

150 Ways to Spark Innovation During Times of Change

150 Ways to Spark Innovation During Times of Change - an award-winning business innovation book by Jeremy Gutsche, CEO of Trend Hunter

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Let reason triumph over hierarchy IN 1975 FINANCE MAVEN Ray Dalio was fired from his job at a stock brokerage. From his point of view, he couldn't fit into a corporate culture where hierarchy was more important than logic. So he started his own firm, Bridgewater Associates, where conflict and reasoning are more im- portant than seniority: "Conflict in the pursuit of excellence is a terrific thing and is strongly en- couraged, in fact demanded. There should be no (or as little as possible) hierarchy. Certainly there are organizational 'superior-subordinate' rela- tionships; however, every 'subordinate' is encouraged to argue with his or her 'superior' if he or she thinks they know the better way, and every 'su- perior' is required to encourage this . . . I want power to lie in the reason- ing, not in the position, of the individual."51 At Bridgewater a superior cannot overrule a subordinate. Disagreements need to be solved through reasoning or reviewed by a third party. Today, the firm manages $80 billion dollars of assets, making Dalio a billion- aire. Since inception, the firm has averaged a 15% annual return. When the markets crashed in 2008, Bridgewater was among the most prepared, with its two largest funds reporting a gain of 9%.52 Fight as if you're right, listen as if you're wrong. 143

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