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

Website2017 160x240 RGB2 Cameron Webster, CFA
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

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