“We hired a private plane in the wee hours of the night to ship a medical device from California to Texas! This extraordinary cost was all in an effort to make sure the company reached their quarterly sales numbers.” The former CFO of a publicly traded company recounted this story at a recent lecture on business ethics. The CFO went on to discuss how this seemingly “heroic” effort to make sure that the company reached a short-term goal led to an accounting investigation and the subsequent firing of a handful of executives, including the CEO. These types of actions had the added side affect of burning out the company’s employees and bringing down their morale.
Often, we see executives focused on growth based on short-term metrics. To borrow terminology from bestselling author Patrick Lencioni from an Inc. magazine article, these executives have the mentality of a body builder. They think that growth equals success and are willing to rely on the business equivalent of banned supplements to reach short-term goals and growth at any cost. The business dealings these executives carry out may seem good for the moment, but when viewed with a longer perspective in mind may not be in the best interest of the company long-term.
Compare that to the business owner who thinks like a farmer. Farmers look to create environments in their land where healthy, sustainable growth can occur for many generations. They prepare the environment and let nature take its course. The business owners with a farming frame of view focus on long-term results such as solving problems for their clients and creating a culture that fosters innovation that leads to dependable results. They avoid gimmicks, shortsightedness, and destructive tactics that may work over short periods of time, but prove to be the downfall of the body builder/business owner over long time periods. The farmer’s tactics require wisdom, patience, and discipline.
We often see investors fall into a similar pattern.
The “body builder” investors are looking to beat a benchmark every quarter – focusing on short-term metrics which lead to frequent changes or potentially excessive risks. This creates an environment which can create increased stress, anxiety and burnout of the body builder investor.
The “farmer” investors create an environment where growth can occur – making sure they have a proper allocation and following a disciplined process are keys to the “farmer” investors tactics. While the harvest will vary over short time frames, over longer time periods, farmer investors will benefit from their patience and restraint.
So ask yourself – as an investor, are you a body builder or farmer? CCMI prefers to follow the way of the farmer – this approach is one that we feel creates an environment for sustainable growth over long periods of time. If you admire the farmer’s approach, give CCMI a call to see how we can help create an environment for growth in your personal finances and investments (or feel free to pass this along to someone who may appreciate this perspective).
CCMI provides personalized fee-only financial planning and investment management services to business owners, professionals, individuals and families in San Diego and throughout the country. CCMI has a team of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professionals who act as fiduciaries, which means our clients’ interests always come first.
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