Billionaire investor Ray Dalio has been outspoken about the value of self-awareness for years.
But on a December episode of the “Lex Fridman Podcast,” when asked what advice he had for young people, Dalio clarified a group’s talents are more fruitful when its members know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and how to “work well together.”
“There are people who have strengths where you’re weak and you have strengths where they’re weak,” Dalio said. “[It] is the most effective way of achieving success.”
Dalio, 72, is the founder of Westport, Connecticut-based Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund. He told CNBC Make It about his own weaknesses last year, saying that he struggles to give feedback without coming off as “brutal” and has a tendency of “rambling or not being clear.”
“If you don’t know about your weaknesses, you can’t get around them,” he said.
Now, he says, the key is making sure the people around you know about your weaknesses — and your strengths. Together, he said on the podcast, you can cover for each other’s weak points and give each other’s strengths space to take over.
The advice fits Dalio’s track record: Since stepping down as Bridgewater’s CEO in 2011, the billionaire has become well-known for his philosophy of working collaboratively. In his 2017 book, “Principles,” Dalio wrote about the value of finding people “who ask the most thoughtful questions, as opposed to thinking they have all the answers.”
Two years later, Dalio tweeted a graphic that said “1+1=3,” to illustrate that “two people who collaborate well will be about three times as effective as each of them operating independently.”
“Each will see what the other might miss,” he wrote in his tweet. “Plus they can leverage each other’s strengths while holding each other accountable to higher standards.”
Last year, Dalio and a group of psychologists launched a personality test called PrinciplesYou, intended to identify participants’ strengths and weaknesses — and compare them against those of colleagues who have also taken the quiz.
Notably, some disability justice advocates say personality tests — a $500 million industry in 2017, according to the Harvard Business Review — are exclusionary. Instead of cultivating teamwork, they say, some quizzes can lead employers to favor some personality types over others.
But PrinciplesYou’s comparison element proved useful for the test’s creators, according to Inc. magazine: While developing the test, Dalio reportedly learned that he worked and made decisions partially on intuition. By contrast, co-creator and organizational psychologist Adam Grant said his workstyle was much more analytical.
“It was eye-opening for me because we’ve had these moments when I want to change your mind and I bring you some evidence,” Grant said during the test’s launch, according to Inc. “And you say, ‘I don’t care about the evidence because it doesn’t match my intuition.’ It led me to think we can collaborate more effectively by my asking you, ‘Ray, tell me more about where that intuition came from and we can unpack it together.'”