The Boys in the Boat and Investment Management
This past summer, many of us here at LNWM read The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown. This remarkable true story — about the University of Washington rowing team that won gold at the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany — has inspired many for good reason. What does it have to do with the work we do here at LNWM? Actually, quite a bit I think.
The boys in the boat were mostly working class young men who were unlikely rowers given their backgrounds. Along the way to the gold medal, these boys surprisingly defeated some of the most elite programs from the eastern US and the world, and ultimately the German crew in front of Adolf Hitler. One of the boys, Joe Rantz, is the emotional center of the story as he overcomes a very difficult childhood and makes rowing his purpose and his teammates his family. Also key are Al Ulbrickson, their coach, and the renowned British boat builder George Yeoman Pocock, as they become mentors to Joe and the team.
The story of Joe Rantz is incredible in itself. However, what stood out for us was how teamwork, determination and effort translate to life. Rowing, like many things in life, requires an inordinate effort for very little glory. So what does this have to do with today’s investment landscape? For that, we repeat something from the book attributed to George Pocock: “Harmony, balance, rhythm…There you have it. That’s what life is all about.” That is the great lesson from team sports – knowing your role and how to work as a team. In few other sports is synchronicity more important than rowing.
Synchronicity Is Key
At LNWM, it’s also all about synchronicity. Each member of our Investment Strategy & Research group, for example, plays a key role in finding the optimal asset mix for meeting clients’ goals. Our core strength comes from having dedicated experts in global equities, fixed-income and alternative assets all working together as a coordinated unit. Each of our efforts must be fully aligned with the others – and then also with the work of our in-house estate, tax and financial planning experts — in order to move our clients closer to their life goals. Anything less doesn’t really work well.
How well we synchronize all these moving parts is key to our success and our clients’ success.