This article wraps up the trilogy. Have you read the first 2 parts? Start with the Introduction/ Lesson 1.
If you thought Lessons 2/3 were entirely about the human and relationship aspects of a business leader, you might ask - how does it all hang together?
Lesson 4: "Feelings, nothing more than feelings..."
In the past year, phrases like
"I really like this CEO."
"I have a really good feeling about XYZ."
came up frequently in L.I.C. deal discussions. I realised that I had been trained to assiduously avoid emotions or intangible assertions in investment cases. Associating women with emotions has been an argument "used by men in decades past to take economic power from women," says a recent acquaintance. It certainly left one wide open to reputational attacks, without reams of data to fall back on (CYA, anyone?).
On the other hand, I've been trained to balance risk across a portfolio; dissect hockey stick assumptions; examine implementation; analyse financial statements and ultimately, stress-test a growth plan for what risks it can withstand. This has and continues to be relevant skill. I advocate any seasoned investor - male or female - to get hands-on reconciling numbers and ideas at least once.
When strategy and financials sing together, I get the same chills and thrills as hearing an a cappella band sound in unison,
says this whole-brained choir nerd.
I believe that acknowledging humanity (emotions, intuition, values, purpose) is an innovation in investing, benefiting the investing ecosystem and the world.
Emotions/ values/ intuition and other intangible factors are incredibly valuable investment considerations, if we are conscious to them and use them accordingly.
If one can acknowledge both Yin (soft and intangible) and traditional Yang (active, tangible) factors such as market opportunity; execution risks; cash flow...
If Yin and Yang were harmonised in a financial decision... then there truly is a coherent investment thesis that works for the individual, and hopefully, the World too.
There is (a lot) more to be said about being competent at processing and integrating such intangible aspects of a financial decision. Sadly, my experience indicates that people today generally lack the tools to work effectively with emotions and ego in the area of money. Remember the famous saying:
Get Out of Your Own Way
This is only possible when we become aware that limiting beliefs might be at work within us.
Perhaps the B-schools innovate ways to teach this alongside Corporate Finance 101 to the next generation of business leaders so it becomes a new normal in our business conversations. I certainly am doing my part to empower women who have unknowingly been manipulated, mocked or infantilised by traditional financial services providers for paying attention to anything but financial returns.
Call to Action
In 2019, I will be putting energy to deepening my impact and offering that guides women to make conscious choices with their investment funds. I want to spread the joy and multi-dimensional rewards that come from making economic choices that bridge one's inner world - rationale, motivation and values - with the world they want to see. This takes my past work with individuals and small groups to a whole new scale, with the potential to create sea change across a generation.
I'd love to know if you're already doing this in some way - much to learn, and explore how we can do it better, together. I'd also love to hear from investors - aspiring, early or experienced - who would like to incorporate a wholistic investment philosophy in their plan. Or anyone else who would like to be part of this.
Thank you for staying with me to the end of this 3-part journey! I sincerely hope it was worth it!
If you enjoyed reading, or know someone who can forward my cause, please share the article with others who might benefit. I'd enjoy hearing your feedback/ questions via PM.