Principles and Timing: How Quickly Should Change Happen?

Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates fame, is well known for the guiding principles that:

  1. First established his investment philosophy.
  2. Later were honed and refined into a management system they use to run the firm.

He credits them as “the foundation of Bridgewater’s success,” and it’s not a mystery why this is the case…

They externalize the thinking and decision-making criteria necessary to maximize the likelihood of success and minimize risk.

And with those principles down on paper, each member of the firm can use, evaluate, and examine those criteria as they make decisions as well.

There’s a similar line of thinking behind the Pro Tips and Ownership Bottleneck series – our way of articulating the principles we believe contribute to the “success formula.” Using those to guide your decision-making will, as a general rule, make most everything in the brewery work better.

But alas… we also live in the real world.

With limited time and resources.

And that means we have to make decisions on what to pursue now, what to compromise on, and what to pursue later.

A reply from a brewery owner that makes this point crystal clear:

I think TIME is one element you haven’t addressed yet. This stuff doesn’t happen overnight. Patience is another quality that is needed for successful leadership.

Exactly.

When the rubber hits the road, timing, sequencing, and pragmatism also play their part.

Startups likely won’t have an ownership bottleneck problem to resolve today, but instead more fundamental issues to address (legal, funding, product development, marketing, etc.). However, as growth occurs that equation will certainly change.

A nano brewery may have some leadership team gaps to fill, but in order to make that happen, they need to put their resources into increasing sales so they can support the additional overhead. That means living with the team issue for a period of time until the prerequisite revenue problem is solved.

A production brewery may need to hit the brakes on expanding their outside sales team, regardless of demand, while they address operations issues that are impacting their ability to fulfill orders.

Whatever the scenario, the point is: everything in due time.

Use best practices and principles as your filter.

Be realistic in your expectations of how quickly change should occur.

And do the day-in, day-out work to bring that change to bear.

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