Last month, while I was on a cross country flight, I read Ray Dalio’s seminal document, Principles, for the second time this year. For those of you who don’t know Ray, he is the Founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest and arguably most successful hedge fund. Ray runs Bridgewater according to principles that he has developed over his 40+ year career. Some would suggest his approach and views of the world are radical but it’s hard to argue with Bridgewater’s success. Ray is a big proponent of radical transparency in order to arrive at the truth. His principles include embracing failure, being in synch, building teams carefully, and running an organization like a machine. While I don’t share all of Ray’s views, I do believe that just about every organization imaginable would dramatically improve if they read and adopted even half of the principles.
After I finished reading the document, I began to reflect on my own values and principles. I also began to question my own effectiveness as an investor and as an employee in the spirit of radical candor. What am I good at? What drives me? What are my blind spots? What are my bad habits? Where am I falling short? What am I currently struggling with? By asking myself these questions and investing the time to reflect, I was able to shed light on some of the areas at work that I should focus on. This process was both cathartic and enlightening. What I found was surprising and incredibly transformative but it required a structured process and heavy doses of reflection and self inquiry.Read More