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5 Leadership Lessons I Learned from A Billionaire Investor: Ray Dalio

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article | 5 Leadership Lessons I Learned from A Billionaire Investor: Ray DalioThe name of hedge fund billionaire Raymond Dalio triggers emotions of adoration, admiration, and even dislike. That’s the effect success has on people. You do not climb your way up without meeting people who have mixed feelings about you. This should not deter you, and if anything, it should motivate you to be a better version of yourself.

The success, and sometimes, failures of Dalio has made him an inspiration to many. He is on record for saying we make millions of decisions during the course of our lifetime. These decisions, or the logic behind them, determine the quality of lives we lead. While many of us are afraid of failure, Dalio fears mediocrity and boredom.

These are the hallmarks of a true leader, be it in business or politics.

Born in 1949, the American investor, philanthropist, and hedge fund manager is the founder, Co-Chief Investment Officer, and Co-Chairman of Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s leading hedge funds with a more than $130 billion in assets under management.

With a net worth of $18.7 billion, Dalio started investing at the age of 12 and his life has revolved around finance. There is no doubt that he has lot to teach people and you can learn to be a better leader by imitating how he has managed the investment firm he launched from his apartment in 1975, around the same time that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs founded their tech companies.

Here are five leadership lessons that you can learn from Dalio.

1. Hire people who are better than you

The self-made billionaire is a firm believer in the importance of the people you hire for your business. After many decades of hiring, grooming, and firing people, Dalio says one of the best decisions you can ever make as a business leader is hiring someone who is better than you.

The key to this is the ability to recognize talented employees who bring a particular skill set on the table. This means that if you have people on your team that can perform a certain task better than you, it takes away the need to micromanage them.

This has two advantages. It gives you much time and room to focus on the bigger picture of managing your business. You can spend more time growing the business instead of fulfilling tasks that can otherwise be done by your employees. Secondly, employees are more productive when they are left to their jobs with little to no micro-management.

Real leaders know how to choose the members of their team.

2. No harm in making mistakes

Mistakes are a part of life and there should be no shame in making them once in a while. However, Dalio points out that not correcting them is a big mistake. You have probably heard making the same twice is a choice because you have an opportunity to correct it.

A mistake needs to be identified, analyzed, and lessons learned to prevent the same thing from happening again in the future. A common issue that many organizations face is the lack of courage to personalize mistakes, but more often, generalize them.

At one time in the early 1990s, Ross Waller, the head of trading at the time forgot to place a trade and cost the company some money. Dalio did not fire Waller but instead created a management tool to deal with mistakes and errors.

Dalio learned from the experience that people deserve second chances. He also capitalized on the mistake to develop new methods that can be used to achieve desired goals.

3. Be open-minded

Open-mindedness is one of Dalio’s important lesson yet the hardest. Being open-minded goes hand-in-hand with the ability to evolve fast and learn new things quickly. Some of the techniques that go a long way in helping you to be open-minded are:

  • Feedback – try to get as much feedback as you can especially from other successful people that are not in your immediate circle of mentors.
  • Spend around 90 percent of your time on what you don’t know and the remainder putting what you know to good use.
  • Be an avid reader and on the lookout for new ideas.
  • Listen to people who don’t disagree with you.

4. Taking risks with humility

Dalio became popular in the early 1980s when he pointed out that American banks were overloading Latin American countries with debt. He was proved right when Mexico’s president announced that his country was not able to repay its debt amounting to $80 billion.

He became the go-to person on financial issues. Analysts and the U.S. Congress sought his advice on what would happen next. He predicted that the American economy was headed towards a downturn.

It didn’t happen. In fact, the opposite happened. Stocks went up and the U.S. economy was in a bull market. Dalio was wrong and lost money for his clients. He had to borrow money from his father to pay the bills.

After recovering, he realized that he was not going to stop taking risks, but was going to do so with humility and a changed mindset. He became more open-minded and diversified his portfolio. He has tried to maintain a perfect balance between what he knows and doesn’t.

5. Don’t build walls in your company

One of the biggest mistakes that companies make is personalizing their departments so much that the employees are isolated from each other.

Dalio suggests that employees should be allowed to mingle as much as they can in order to share knowledge and motivate each other to perform their jobs better. Having no walls allows team members to bond and increase productivity when they work together on projects.

This does not literally mean that companies have to break down walls and have an open office space. It’s all about encouraging communication amongst employees and possibly having an open-door policy where employees can feel comfortable approaching each other with their problems.

Conclusion

One of the traits of intelligent people is learning from the experiences of others. Whether it’s value investing in Singapore or learning a new language, it makes sense to learn from those that have traveled the journey before you.

The investment world is filled with successful figures such as Dalio, Warren Buffett, George Soros, and more. They have made a few mistakes along the way. We should learn from them. These great leaders also teach us what it takes to be a great leader. There is no shame in copying what is right and noble.

4 Principles Guiding My Company’s Mission to Make Fresh Organic Meals Accessible for Everyone

StrategyDriven Strategic Planning Article | 4 Principles Guiding My Company’s Mission to Make Fresh Organic Meals Accessible for EveryoneA healthy diet doesn’t need to be expensive and taste bland.

Since I launched Fresh n’ Lean in 2010, I’ve been committed to breaking those stereotypes while getting affordable, pre-made organic meals to as many people as possible.

Those who need healthy meals the most, whether for medical issues or convenience, are too often left with heavily processed and unhealthy food choices. More than 50 million Americans live in food deserts, areas without access to high-quality or affordable fresh food, according to USDA research. But better knowledge about healthy eating has sparked national discourse about what we put into our bodies, and evolving consumer habits are making people less beholden to insufficient local food options.

Four principles have helped me lead my company forward: family, discipline, humility and vision.

My mission began with family in mind.

My father was facing life-threatening health issues — we didn’t know if he would be around in six months or a year. He made drastic changes to his diet and lifestyle, and his health rebounded. Seeing his success was proof that it could work for others, and that there was a greater need for fresh, healthy food options.

Discipline fueled the company’s growth.

I started Fresh n’ Lean when I was 18 years old. While my friends were out partying, I was waking up at 4 a.m. and working 16, 17, 18 hours a day, seven days a week.

That discipline carried over to the company’s financial wellbeing, where we sustained steady growth without relying on outside capital. We’ve always run a pretty lean operation, in part because we didn’t have a lot of excess funds to fuel unrestrained expansion. We had to be thoughtful in how to approach growth opportunities, because one mistake or one wrong decision could derail the whole company.

A dream since Day 1 was building our own kitchen and manufacturing area, a custom space to fit our needs. It wasn’t feasible during our early years, but in time it became a necessity. I never dealt with such a big construction project before, and it was a huge learning experience — I worked with contractors, city officials and architects throughout the permit process. There were setbacks, but we had to keep powering forward. Failure wasn’t an option.

Humility means respect for everyone’s role and impact.

I’ve worked every job the employees work, so I understand where they’re coming from and recognize the obstacles they face. I used to wash dishes and pack boxes. I’d go into the warehouse and pack boxes tomorrow if needed. We’re each a piece in a puzzle that fit together to reveal the mission and character of this company.

My vision for the future

As horrible and disappointing as it is that millions of people don’t have regular access to healthy food, I’m encouraged that our society is paying more attention to what we eat and that the rise of direct-to-consumer shipping provides additional options for people living in food deserts.

Ultimately, we want everyone in the United States to have access to a fresh organic meal within five miles of where they are. While direct-to-consumer is a big part of our business, we’re also looking to increase our offerings in grocery and retail on-the-go stores and getting our vending machines a wider release. We’ve targeted corporate wellness programs with the vending machines, but we plan to take a more mainstream approach in the coming years.

Convenience is a key to continued growth. A healthy diet doesn’t need to be expensive and taste bland — and it should be within reach no matter where you live.


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Laureen AsseoLaureen Asseo is only 27-years-old, yet she has become a pioneer in leading the nation’s organic food craze. She’s the CEO and founder of LA-based Fresh n’ Lean, the largest nationwide organic meal delivery service in the country. It’s her mission to make eating organic easy, affordable and accessible – reclaiming the phrase “fast food”. She was inspired by her father’s ailing health due to his eating habits, and started the company from her one bedroom apartment.

Diversity and Inclusion – Return on Investment, part 3: Employee Productivity Enhancement

Unseen millions are lost by companies every year; the result of employees withholding the full commitment of their physical, intellectual, and emotional contributions. Surveys conducted by the Gallup Organization identified an 18 percent difference in productivity between the best and worst performing companies.1 Yet, as we shall explain, even the best performing companies have room for improvement.


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Top 5 Skills that Differentiate a Stellar Leader from a Mediocre One – Do You Have Them?

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article | Leadership Skills | Top 5 Skills that Differentiate a Stellar Leader from a Mediocre One – Do You Have Them?There was a time when the great thinkers of this world thought that we all come into being with a specific set of skills. These skills defined our lives and decided who we were going to be even before we’d have a chance of thinking about it.

This led to the idea that some people are born leaders, some are born musicians, and some are born without any special skills (aka the regular ones). Luckily, we know better by now, and even if a natural inclination is important, it’s the skills we acquire that make us who we are.

This means that we have talented people who chose not to develop their natural abilities, and we have determined people who choose to compensate by learning and being consistent.

Now, when it comes to leadership, not everyone is a natural at it. However, if you truly want to be a stellar leader, you can do so by refining your behavior and actions through training, education, and experience.
Today we’ll list the top 5 skills any true leader must have in order to rise above the average and make a difference in their field.

Communication & Empathy

You must be able to inspire the people in your team and the only way to do this is by communicating in a way that lets people know you understand and support their positions. As a leader, you are in charge of guiding the team towards new levels of success but there’s no way to do this without showing empathy and being a good listener.

Verbal communication is crucial in both one-on-one and group meetings, as it creates a strong bond between participants.

Luckily, most of us can learn to get better at communicating their thoughts and making other people feel heard and understood. Nowadays, we have access to a wide array of online business communication courses designed specifically for leadership and management positions.

However, empathy may be a bit more difficult to grasp if you’re not a natural empath. It can be learned, but it requires you to see the world through the eyes of another person, which can be confusing to master.

Integrity & Accountability

If you want people to be honest and work from a moral high ground, you need to be the leading example.

C.S. Lewis once said that “integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” If you invest more in your image than you do in your team and your behavior, things will start to crumble pretty fast.

A good leader must implement a solid foundation and allow team members to grow on their own path. This usually means putting your employees first and being appreciative of their time and efforts. After all, their success is yours as well.

Furthermore, a stellar leader will always support its team and share in both the blame and the success. They will hold themselves accountable for their actions, thus creating a sense of responsibility among team members and gaining their respect.

Resilience

When we talk about great leaders, like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Elon Musk, we only discuss their success stories. However, if we were to read their biographies, we’d learn that they had to overcome increasingly difficult conditions and situations.

Most people would have caved, given the same difficulties, but the stellar leaders of this world plowed through any wall that blocked their way. They had the vision and, even though there were many times of doubt, they never let their teams see this.

Wrap Up

While the skills mentioned above don’t talk about incredible talent or extreme intelligence, they can be difficult to master for most people. We’re not all great communicators and it can be difficult to maintain your integrity when things don’t go your way. Also, keeping yourself accountable and moving forward regardless of difficulties doesn’t sound like that much fun.

However, these are skills that toughen a person’s character, earn their peers’ respect and help create some of the most amazing leaders of our world (past, present, and future)!


About the Author

Oli is a working mum who has a passion for teaching and all things educational. With a background in marketing, Oli manages the digital channels and content at Courses.com.au.

Project Management Warning Flag 1 – Unfunded Activities

Project Management Warning Flag 1 - Unfunded Activities | unfunded activities | StrategyDriven Project Management ArticleManaging a project to an on-time, on-budget completion has become increasingly difficult in the ‘do more with less’ reality of today’s business world. But what many project managers fail to realize is that their project is doomed from the start. Activities associated with a project’s roll-out and needed organizational change management often go unscoped and unfunded because they don’t directly contribute to the creation of the produce or service being developed. The cost of these activities is very real in terms of personnel and financial resources and the project’s ultimate success relies on their performance.


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