Open-minded Delegation

If you’re anything like me, you love finding solutions to problems. When faced with a challenge, your mind starts racing to find potential paths to take, hypotheses to test, and solutions to build. This is exciting, but this is also very dangerous! Once you have a potential solution, you may not want to give it up.

Now add a team to the mix. In an ideal world, you could clone yourself and get twice as much done, right?  Unfortunately, we need to work with other people. Despite our best cloning efforts, those other people will be different. At the outset of all new projects, I instinctively present my (coveted) brilliant solution and lay out my grand plan for success. Then, I realize that not everyone sees things my way.

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At first, this sucks. But sometimes I remember to open my mind. Delegation and teamwork can lead to outsized rewards, not despite the differences between the collaborators but because of them. In finance, diversification is basically the only free lunch. Value comes from adding imperfectly correlated assets to a portfolio. The strengths of one asset can more than make up for the weaknesses of another asset.

Good collaboration is about exploration. Often, what feels like compromise ends up being a better solution. If you can enter the process with an open mind, you have the potential to combine the best of one person’s perspective with the best of another person’s ideas. Understand that your way may not be the best way, even if (or especially if) you have more experience than someone else.

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