Here at third party marketing firm Havener Capital Partners, we use A LOT of sports team references. While I kind of relate to them having been a cheerleader, the relationships built on a cheer squad are very different when you’re clapping, jumping up and down, and cheering than when you’re actively supporting your team with assists, passing the ball, knowing the different positions, the weaknesses and the strengths.
The capital raising environment is challenging. Being in the third party marketing business and speaking with friends and colleagues who are placement agents, third party marketers, heads of distribution or mutual fund wholesalers, we are hearing this challenge more and more. Specifically in the mutual fund space, even where there are positive net flows, they are very, very concentrated amongst a few firms. So if you are a mutual fund, how do you solve this puzzle? Maybe you look to add to your team or you think about ways to use technology, marketing, or other best practices to make your current team more efficient. If you are nodding yes as you read this so far, then there is a question you might also be asking yourself, “How do I know which of my wholesalers (current or prospective) is most likely to succeed?”
This morning, I read a blog post (which I loved for many reasons which are too many to list here) that reminded me of something important when building a team. Your best current or future mutual fund wholesaler is not necessarily the person with the most relationships, or the one with the best career pedigree, or the 4.0 student with the Ivy League education. Those qualities are all great, but they are not necessarily predictors of success. The characteristic that has shown to be predictive is something entirely different – grit. (For more on this topic, I highly recommend watching the amazing Ted talk from Angela Lee Duckworth.)
Grit is passion, perseverance, stamina, a refusal to give up. Or as Marta Vieira da Silva writes in her recent blog post: having grit = being stubborn. Who is Marta Vieira da Silva? A badass soccer player from Brazil. I mean really badass. If you need some inspiration over your afternoon coffee, or a preview of one reason why the upcoming Olympics will be amazing, or a reminder of why grit matters, I encourage you to read her post.
If you are hiring, may you find the grittiest of teammates and in that process, may you harness your own grit within. Ole, Ole, Ole.
Have some tips or interview questions that help you in the hiring process? Please share your comments below!