Ray Dalio: Entrepreneurial leader

In Entrepreneurial Leadership, Joel Peterson offers several examples of people who “are able to launch something new, turn around a failing enterprise, and anticipate and make changes before they have to. In an age of disruption, fickle consumers, fast-moving markets, and unprecedented change, and unprecedented social change, this type of nimble leadership is needed more than ever.”

Briefly, entrepreneurial leaders build trust, create a mission, secure a team, and deliver results.

Ray Dalio is one of these leaders. He leads  Bridgewater Associates, the most  successful hedge fund investment firm in the industry’s history. He founded it after graduating from Harvard University  He is now worth about $20-billion. In his business bestseller, Principles, Dalio explains how to systematize the process of management with the principles and skills of an engineer.

According to Peterson, next to knowing one’s core values, Dalio believes “the most important attribute an entrepreneurial leader can possess is a predictable, reliable, and intentional operating system…But before a leader can [systematize the process of management], he or she must refine his or her personal operating system — the habits he or she uses to lead — and learn to act systematically in everyday practice.”

Dalio and other entrepreneurial leaders recognize the importance to their operating system of these three affirmation principles that override their natural instincts. I presume to add my take on each.

1. “It’s not about me.” It’s about us and what can can accomplish together.
2. “I am not my emotions.” I have committed my mind, heart, and soul to serving others.
3. “I have all I need.” The challenge is to achieve high-impact results with what all of us have.

All this is thoroughly explained in Entrepreneurial Leadership: The Art of Launching New Ventures, Inspiring Others, and Running Stuff, published by HarperCollins Leadership (April 2020). See Pages 12-20.

I also highly recommend Dalio’s business classic, Principles: Life and Work, published by Simon & Schuster (2017).


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