The Dot Collector: Does Real Time Feedback Work?

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform summary of "Principles: Life and Work" by Ray Dalio. Shortform has the world's best summaries of books you should be reading.

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What is the Dot Collector app? How does it work, and how is it successfully implemented?

The Dot Collector app is a tool used during meetings to provide feedback to employees. All members of the meeting can assign positive or negative dots to others in real time.

Read to find out more about the Dot Collector tool.

The Dot Collector

We’ve covered a number of Bridgewater’s tools already. Here’s a recap of the main ones and introduction of a few new ones, including Ray Dalio’s Dot Collector.

Principles and Coach

For years before publishing this book, Dalio had his Life and Work principles available throughout his company and publicly. 

Since there are hundreds of principles, he created Coach, a library of common situations and how to deal with them. People give feedback on the advice that Coach gives.

The Dot Collector App

The Ray Dalio Dot Collector app is a tool used during meetings where people can award each other dots (positive or negative) on a few dozen attributes, such as expertise in the topic area, creativity, open-mindedness, and so on. All of the dots are shown publicly and in real-time, so people can see everyone else’s thoughts throughout the meeting. People often use this feedback to correct how they’re behaving in the same meeting.

The tool also empowers believability-weighted decision making by collecting votes from each person at the meeting. It then shows everyone’s votes, as well as the believability-weighted results. People who disagree with the outcome are alerted and shown steps to resolve the disagreement.

People who are rated as more believable in an attribute have more weight behind the dots they give for that attribute. Over many meetings and many ratings by other people, a person’s strengths and weaknesses become very visible through the Ray Dalio Dot Collector app.

The Dot Collector: Does Real Time Feedback Work?

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best summary of Ray Dalio's "Principles: Life and Work" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Principles: Life and Work summary:

  • How Ray Dalio lost it all on bad bets, then rebounded to build the world's largest hedge fund
  • The 5-step process to getting anything you want out of life
  • Why getting the best results means being relentlessly honest with everyone you work with

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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