“It’s not the scheme that matters, it’s the coaches teaching it” Rick Venturi, NFL Assistant Coach

The book Gridiron Genius is one of my recent faves, a huge thanks to Ted Seides for the wonderful podcast that brought it to my attention. Author Michael Lombardi worked closely with legendary NFL figures Bill Walsh, Bill Belichick, and Al Davis, and learned a thing or two about converting ideas into wins.

A recurring theme is the powerful role communication plays in turning a great plan into actual success. The real edge for these guys was not having the most ideas, it was building their own template using first principles that were a) non-negotiable and b) understood by everyone involved.

Like the NFL, investors are obsessed with the next winning idea. Whether it’s academic-driven factors or story-driven themes, idea chasing is a permanent bug of investing. Where these legends excelled was incorporating new information, without distracting the end user…the players.

The investing equivalent here is “It’s not the investment plan that matters, it’s the advisors sharing it.” The greatest plan is useless if the actual participants don’t follow it.  Behavior is the edge we can all access, if we can get past the human tendency to give it away.

An advisor/coach earns a fee by keeping us focused on our north star. Initial game planning of course, but the ongoing adjustments and reminders during market meltdowns/blowoffs are where the real value gets delivered. Genius? No. Valuable? 1000x yes.

Graphic by Andrew Boake via ResearchGate

We all have different interests, skills, and styles, and none of us will be the next Walsh or Belichick. But if we hope to coach, teach, parent, or advise, learning to communicate with informed simplicity is the most broadly useful skill we can each develop.