The competitive advantage of high performing teams | Vijay Viswanathan | EP06

May 9, 2018 Print

Featuring Vijay Viswanathan, Mawer’s Director of Research, on the key characteristics of high performing investment teams.

Highlights include:

  • Why we view Mawer's culture as a competitive advantage
  • Some performance building frameworks
  • What it means to be a “steward of the jersey”


Your host

cam porthole3 Cameron Webster, CFA, MBA
Institutional Portfolio Manager

Cam likes to think and act long-term. He has broad experience in the capital markets over his 20+ years as an analyst, portfolio manager, and client service professional. When not thinking about markets and investing, Cam trains and participates in other “boring” and disciplined activities such as ultra-endurance races—marathon, triathlon, one-day 300+km bike rides.


1:04  Having a great culture is a firm differentiator

Mawer’s culture evolution:

  1. Charles Mawer: Do the right thing for clients and success will follow
  2. 2004: Jim Ware and Focus Consulting (High Performing Investment Teams)

3:18  Seeing performance culture as a horizontal line: Above the line and below the line behaviours

4:17  The Secret: Trust

Trust is the vital starting point and leads to above the line behaviours: candour, curiosity, openness of thought

5:30  Putting frameworks and tools of high performing teams into practise

7:27  The Secret: Vulnerability and how this leads to value added investment decisions

8:30  Vijay shares his personal experience

  • Worst investment as a 12 year-old
  • Being the “token brown kid”

11:37  The leader decides with input model

13:19  Frameworks for cultivating culture:

  1. Playing to strengths
  2. Definition of genius area
  3. Setting clear expectations
  4. Creating feedback loops 

15:57  Example of a high performing team: New Zealand All Blacks Steward of the jersey model

18:24  Measuring the inputs as opposed to the outputs (performance)

19:33  Incentives:

  • Monetary compensation only takes you so far; it’s the content of people’s character that is the true incentive
  • It is the role of leadership to put people in the position where they can do meaningful work

24:22  Getting a job at Mawer and the interview process

27:15  Where high performing teams go wrong

29:58  Rapid Fire Round:

  1. Best sports travel experience
  2. Favourite way to relax
  3. What are you reading now?
  4. Thatha stories
  5. Biggest surprise upon becoming a father

Related Reads

How to subscribe

The podcast is available to listen and subscribe through any of the following platforms:

You can also subscribe to Art of Boring to receive email notifications when a new episode is available, as well as other insights through our blog and quarterly updates, by entering your email into the 'Stay curious' block below.

Have feedback?

If you enjoyed this episode, feel free to leave a review on iTunes, which will help more people discover the Be Boring. Make Money.™ philosophy. 

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about the podcast, please email


No one has commented on this page yet.

Join the Discussion

Stay Curious

Subscribe to receive our latest insights and quarterly updates.

Popular Posts

Playing the plan: Mawer’s Canadian equity portfolio | Vijay Viswanathan | EP13

Canadian lifecos: More than just insurance

Investing with your eyes: CIO insights from South America | Paul Moroz | Ep12

Process before proceeds

(Not) boring finds for this week – August 1, 2018


(Not) Boring Links

Business Models

Investment Approach

Mental Models


Stay curious

Subscribe to receive our latest insights and quarterly updates.