Sometimes, You Have to Be OK Without Knowing the Answer
One of the recent additions to my podcast rotation is Bloomberg' Masters of Business podcast with Barry Ritholtz. The podcast is typically a long-form interview with thought leaders from the business world. Yesterday I listened to the interview with Ray Dalio, who founded the world's largest hedge fund. One of the regular questions that the host asks is what does the interviewee know now that he wished they knew when they started in their industry. I loved Dalio's answer:
I wish I knew how to deal with my not knowing. How to bring in the best, how to deal with thoughtful disagreement, to be radically openminded, to be audacious in going after my goals, to try to do great things, but to know that I could change my risk/return ratio by being able to raise my confidence via the art of thoughtful disagreement.
Dalio built the culture of his company around the importance of thoughtful disagreement. The idea is that no one has all the answers and that anyone can change the direction of the company if they present an idea that has merit... and it seems to have worked out well for him.
He created this culture by modeling the behavior of being OK with not knowing, and being comfortable with others coming up with great ideas. Doing this took humility, flexibility, and trust from everyone on the team. Characteristics that I think we all desire for our own teams. But creating this type of culture starts with answering a simple question: am I OK with not knowing?
One of the ways that Chemistry helps churches is by making sure that whoever joins their team fits the team culture. Looking for someone who is OK with not knowing? I'd love to share some of what we are learning with you...