team spirit

Superstars and Team Players

photo shows four hands working together on a puzzle

I played team sports growing up: all my kids at least tried them, too. What do we know about strong teams and strong businesses?

A star player can get a team pretty far—but notching some big wins doesn’t mean the program is sustainable.

It’s a hard lesson for many superstars. Plenty of hot businesses crash and burn under extraordinary people who turn out to be poor leaders.

On a solid team, you don’t need a leader who’s able to do everything: you want a mix across the team. You need to face that not everyone is equally skilled in all areas, and you want to build a space where strengths can shine and powers can complement each other.

So what’s a better alternative to the superstar? We’d suggest it’s the true team player.

Okay, so being a “team player” sometimes isn’t so glamorous. Sometimes people ask you to be a team player when it’s time for you to do something you don’t want to do. It can be a euphemism for a chump.

A team player, however, is someone who can delegate. This type of leader is not so foolish to think they are the only one for the job. This leader isn’t afraid of looking like they’re not up to a challenge—because they know that other team players will recognize the power of working together. Trust begets trust.

Some people mistake a team player for someone who’s okay giving up control. But someone who can work on a team actually gains power: if the work makes it to the person that it’s best for, everyone is free to pick and choose, to optimize how they spend their time.

A lot of endeavors in life require teams. We like to think of our office as one such team, but we are also honored to be part of the team that helps you keep your life running. Clients, by letting us help you, we get to use our skills to focus on one important aspect for you. You’re not giving anything up by inviting us into the process: you’re gaining control, the chance to make more informed decisions that work toward your goals.

We don’t need superstars. Our team has what it takes, and we’ve got the best clients in the world. Call or write when you’d like to chat about this, or anything else.

No Fair-weather Fans

photo shows a young man with a baseball bat and

With the tenuous return of baseball this year, we’re thinking about what fandom means for the investing world.

One thing that strikes us is the redundancy of a phrase like “long-term investing.” Investing is already aimed at the long haul, right? You’ve heard it from us before: “Own the orchard for the fruit crop.” We have been explicit that our investment strategies are based on long time horizons.

But we dove a little deeper and came out with an even richer appreciation for this approach.

Turns out the most common notion of “investing”—using what we have to generate income or profit—is a fairly modern one. The phrase popped up in the 17th century and gained traction by the 19th, per the Oxford English Dictionary.

But a few hundred years before that? It was more literal. “Investing” was closer to its Latin root vestire: to dress or clothe, often in symbolic garments.

Even today, when the crowds aren’t allowed in their favorite stadiums, the word “investing” still has us imagining a sea of sports fans, adorned in those special garments of their favorite team. A sea of investors.

They dress in their team’s colors, and win or lose, by golly they’ll put them on next weekend too.

They’re fans for the long haul; they’re invested.

Like a fervent fan, the phrase “long-term investing” is cheering pretty loudly for a proposition we’re already on board with. It doesn’t mean we can’t be disappointed in our investments, nor does it mean the lineup will never change.

But when we buy in, when we wear the clothes of, this is no fair-weather enterprise; we’re here for the long term. Clients, if you’d like to discuss this or anything else, please write or call.


Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.