In sport and in life it pays to keep your eye on the ball. On the sports field, it is tempting to respond to the taunts of your opponents, but you risk being distracted from adding to the scoreboard. Likewise, in business if you are distracted by office politics you will not produce results. During a recent reorganisation, Dave and several of his colleagues were at risk of losing their jobs. The politics in the office was toxic. Gossip and character assassination were rife as people around him focused on managing upwards to position themselves for new roles. Dave was tempted to do battle with his opponents, but that would have been counter to a key principle that guided him, which was to focus on producing results.
While his colleagues scrambled for survival, he created a vision for his dream job. He had a great ability to win the trust of his clients and he knew that they would endorse his reputation for producing results. Of course, he also had to market those results to senior management, so they did not forget about him. But that was different from the shallow self-promotion that he had witnessed in others. He was willing to take the risk that he may not be doing enough to counter the self-promoters. But he wanted to be able to look in the mirror and know that his personal integrity was intact because he stayed true to his principles.
Dave’s results were indeed recognised by his management and he was rewarded with a more senior role in the reorganisation, which interestingly fulfilled his vision for his dream role.
Ray Dalio is the author of Principles: Life and Work and founder and co-chairman of Bridgewater Associates, the largest and best performing hedge fund in the world, with $160B in assets. One of the key principles that has guided Dalio’s leadership of Bridgewater Associates is, ‘Have integrity and demand it from others.’ He explains, ”Integrity comes from the Latin word integritas, meaning “one” or “whole.” People who are one way on the inside and another way on the outside—i.e., not “whole”—lack integrity; they have “duality” instead.”
Dave found that his key principles of integrity and a focus on results guided him successfully through a period of turmoil.
Are you keeping your eye on the ball?
Best regards, Brian
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