This past year was a great year of learning for me! Transitioning out of the big corporate world into my own business consulting has given me the opportunity to adjust my “point of reference” and to see the world from yet another very valuable perspective!
In addition to this monster change, I was also able to either consult or serve in a board role in two not-for-profit organizations, a landscape company, a drywall company, a home renovation company, an equipment sales company, and a start-up engineering company. In the middle of all this, I started a Mastermind Group of senior level business leaders.
It was definitely a year full of change, learning, and growth!
And, as I have in done previous years, this post shares my biggest lessons learned over the past year.
What I Learned in 2017
The most important things I learned in 2017 are:
This week’s book summary is Principles by Ray Dalio.
Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, the fifth most important private company in the United States (according to Forbes), does a stellar job in laying out his Personal History (for context), Life Principles, and Work Principles. I highly recommend this book to all business leaders. It is full of great business advice, leadership advice, personal advice, and practical application.
My takeaway from this book are the 16 Work Principles that Dalio describes in detail in the book (listed below for your reference):
By many accounts, Ray Dalio is a very successful person. He is most well known for being the founder and the driving force of Bridgewater Associates, which Forbes calls “the fifth most important private company in the United States.”
However, what many people don’t know about Dalio is that he is the creator of some amazing systems that, among other things:
- Measure performance
- Spur innovative thinking
- Motivate people to develop and grow
- Position businesses for success
He credits much of his personal and business success to the creation and implementation of these systems.
One of these systems is for employee performance management. Although performance reviews are typically the bane of every employee and manager’s existence, Bridgewater has created an engaging system that gets beyond many of the pitfalls of traditional performance assessments.
Ray Dalio is the founder of the investment firm Bridgewater Associates. He had an estimated net worth of $15.4 billion in 2014 according to Forbes! So, what does Ray Dalio have to do with your business?
Probably nothing directly. But, based on his net worth, Dalio knows business so we should learn from him! He came up with a simple model that describes a business or an organization that has worked well for him over the years. I would suggest that understanding his simple model is critical to the success of your business. The model is shown in the picture for this blog post (note that I have exercised my artistic license and added a few items for clarity!)
As business leaders, each of us is responsible to produce results in our organizations. Results drive our businesses. Without achieving positive results, a business is really worthless. Dalio‘s model illustrates that a business starts with a Vision and then delivers business results or Outcomes through a Machine. The model stresses that the Outcomes are a direct result of the Vision and the Machine (both of which are defined below);
Last week I wrote about the importance of setting up your Advisors Network and I listed a number of my Advisors Council members that have really helped me over my career. This weeks post will list some of the books or references from these icons that I have leveraged over the years. In many cases I have multiple books from each of these authors but I will limit the list to the one source from that individual that made the biggest difference in my professional development.