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Ray Dalio & Bill Belichick on Building Great Teams

Since I released my book Principles: Life & Work, several remarkably successful people from all walks of life contacted me telling me that they used basically the same principles across domains and asked me if I would brainstorm with them about principles for success. This led to my having incredibly interesting and valuable conversations that I want to pass along to you so you can get the best possible principles for success.

This first conversation is with one of the greatest football coaches and team builders in history, Bill Belichick, who just earned his 300th career win. After he read Principles he called me and said, “Mine are remarkably similar. Can we chat?” I asked him if we could record it for others to hear and he said sure, so here you go. We sat down before the start of this season to talk about building great teams and how failure is the most valuable part of the path to achieving great success, which is especially interesting as this season has been a challenging one so far. Our long conversation was edited down to a 45-minute piece, which I also broke up into short clips that I will pass along separately.

Get the book, Principles: Life & Work, here:

Key Sections:
00:00 Introduction
01:59 Going From Nothing to Something Big
05:10 Tough Love
09:42 Learning from Failure
12:31 Picking People
16:39 Identifying and Addressing Mistakes
20:53 The Art of Giving Feedback
25:49 Dealing with Arrogant Players
27:08 Having Great Relationships
33:53 The Psychology of the Team
35:00 Toughness
39:07 Bill’s Most Important Principles for Success
42:54 Learning and Development

More on Ray Dalio:
Ray Dalio is the founder and CIO Mentor of Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world. He is the author of #1 New York Times Bestseller and #1 Amazon Business Book of the Year, Principles. Dalio has appeared on the Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world as well as the Bloomberg Markets list of the 50 most influential people. He lives with his family in Connecticut.

Principles from this conversation:
04:03: Write down your Principles
04:48: Accept coaching and take positive action
07:14: Strengthen your weakness to compete
07:54: Avoid the personal at all costs
09:38: If you don’t address your weaknesses, your opponents will
10:34: Pain + Reflection = Progress
10:55: Job security is based on performance
12:17: It’s either the pain of preparation or the pain of failure
12:31: Picking People
13:10: Define the role clearly and “hear the click"
13:57: Treat people the same on the way out as you did on the way in
14:38: Have clear specifications
15:25: If you know what somebody is like, you know what you can expect from them
15:32: Know what can improve through training and what can’t
17:47: Ask: Who should do what differently?
18:03: Diagnose your mistakes to get at the root cause
18:44: Play to your strengths and protect your weaknesses
20:11: Willingness to own mistakes is a key marker of success
21:38: If you don’t address the issue, you’ll have confusion about the problem
23:41: Great leaders welcome criticism
24:59: Put your compliments and criticisms in perspective
28:34: Be generous and expect generosity from others
29:19: Know where the line is and be on the far side of fair
31:14: Cultivate meaningful work and meaningful relationships
32:45: Learning goes both ways
34:30: Prioritize execution
39:20: Do your job, work hard, pay attention to details & put the team first
39:33: Put the mission first
40:35: Ignore the noise
40:50: Focus on your performance
42:04: Focus on the important relationships
43:19: There’s no substitute for hard work
43:43: Leadership is doing your job and putting the team first

For more from Ray Dalio:
Principles | #1 New York Times Bestseller:
Principles | Your Guided Journal:
Principles for Success, distills Principles into an easy-to-read and entertaining format for readers of all ages:
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About Ray Dalio
Ray Dalio
Raymond Thomas Dalio is an American billionaire hedge fund manager and philanthropist who has served as co-chief investment officer of Bridgewater Associates since 1985. He founded Bridgewater in 1975 in New York. Within ten years, it was infused with a US$5 million investment from the World Bank's retirement fund.
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