My favorite episode of the podcast Worklife by Adam Grant is still episode 1 in season 1, “How to Love Critisism” where one of the main guests is Ray Dalio. Now, I have yet to read Ray’s book “Principles” so I rely on LinkedIn and Twitter where he shares a lot of them. In the last weeks a lot of the principles have had the theme of “get in sync”. I have agreed to many of them, it is important to get in sync in order to be on the same path, to push together for something greater. And then it occured to me, what does getting in sync actually mean to Ray Dalio? Is it the same as I have been thinking about it? So I asked.
I didn’t really expect to get any response. But one day a reply came, you can see it blow, and especially two things came to mind.
- I am glad I asked, because what I was thinking was indeed not the same as he was. In my head getting in sync was about what to do, and how to do it.
- His view on getting in sync is a lot harder, and a lot more interesting!
How should we be with each other? What are we, you and me? And then we can get in sync of what is true, and what to do. So how do we get in sync as people, not as people having to do tasks.
These are hard questions, and for me the start of it is to ask more questions about how people reached a decision. How can I get better at understanding how they think, and not necessarily what they think. To me that is the basis for bein able to dive into the other questions. We can say the same about how we want to be around each other, but if the reasoning behind the conclusion is not the same we are still not in sync.
The Third Thing
There is a third thing that’s come to mind as I’ve written this, and that is the importance of actually asking when you are uncertain if you and others have the same definition of things. I have this as a point in many of my presentations around the use data, and speaking the same language. One of the first questions I ask in an interview if someone has the title “Data Scientist” on the resume is what their definition is of that term. No to test them if they have the correct definition, simply to know that if they use the term I know what it means to them so we can understand eachother better.
I think it takes time to “get in sync” in Ray Dalio’s definition. Finding out how we should be with each other, and actually agreeing on it takes time. And it demands that we actually spend time talking about these sort of things and pushing back on talking about the next things to de done on our backlog. I will take this input, this principle, with me and keep asking more questions about how people landed on a conclusion or reached a decision. And then I hope to get more people around me to agree that spending time talking about what we are as a group and how we are together also is a high priority in all group situations!