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Principles for Improvement: At Work as in Life

Ray Dalio is the founder of Bridgewater, the most successful hedge fund company. He attributes his success to a set of "Principles" learned throughout his life. Principles are the essential learnings of life that are absolute truths that withstand the test of time. These principles allowed Dalio to manage his hedge fund in such a way to quickly identify the root cause of any mistakes and to implement parameters to prevent such errors from happening again.

Dalio considers his mistakes as some of his most important life experiences because they led him to discover the principles that now guide his decision-making. By reflecting on his mistakes and turning those lessons into principles, Dalio eventually reached and surpassed his goals. Dalio believes that every decision is within an individual's control, so with practice, careful reflection, and the application of certain principles, anyone can greatly improve their decision-making process.

Dalio also established that “Work Principles” are essentially “Life Principles” applied to groups. Dalio believes that "Work Principles" are even more important than "Life Principles" because, “the power of a group is so much greater than the power of an individual.”

  • Manage as Someone Operating a Machine to Achieve a Goal

  • Constantly Train, Test, Evaluate, and Sort People

  • Perceive and Don’t Tolerate Problems

  • Diagnose Problems to Get at Their Root Causes

  • Design Improvements to Your Machine to Get Around Your Problems

  • Do What You Set Out to Do

  • Don’t Overlook Governance (Document Solutions and Checks)

Read "Principles" by Ray Dalio to learn how to apply continuous improvement to your personal and work life from one of the world's 100 most influential people.

Source: Dalio, Ray (2017), "Principles", Simon & Schuster, NY.

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