Is it safe to go slow?
That’s what our instincts tell us. Whether we see a market running away, or an accident on the highway, our first instinct usually is to slow down, look around, and see what else is going on. “Haste makes waste,” goes the saying.
But slower isn’t always safer. When something truly new has been introduced, it’s important to take advantage of the changes. Watching and waiting may seem prudent, but often it’s just an excuse for procrastination and indecision. Opportunity costs are real, even if they are hard to quantify.
The Roman poet Virgil understood this when he wrote The Aeneid. In the story, the hero Aeneas leads a group of Trojan refugees to a new home after the Greek army destroys their home. When they land in Italy at the site of the future Roman capital, they are opposed by a native tribe. “Fortune favors the bold!” cries their leader Turnus, as he leads a charge against the invaders.
Leadership sometimes requires boldness–not undisciplined, rash decisions, but bold, decisive moves. The business book Good To Great describes several examples of companies that introduced transformative practices or products into their markets. They achieved sustained market leadership through their bold initiatives.
It’s important to be thorough and do your homework. But don’t get consumed by the paralysis of analysis. Sometimes a little audacity is a good thing.
Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer
Leave a comment if you have any questions—I read them all!