Does your work get noticed?
Photo: Burst. Source: Picography. CC0.
I recently stopped at a roadside donut shop to get a quick cup of coffee, and the server took a little extra time with my latte. He handed it over with a vague, curious smile. Intrigued, I popped off the lid on my coffee cup before taking my first sip. Sure enough, there was a small “tree” in the milk foam, hidden from view. Since the store wasn’t busy, I asked him about his small creation. “You didn’t seem in a hurry, and I like to see what I can come up with,” he responded. He’ll go places, I thought.
Much of what we do is never seen. It’s like the fasteners that attach drywall to the studs. The standard is to place screws every 16 inches, for a total of 28 screws on a 4×8 piece of sheetrock. But the wall will be smoothed, taped, and painted. No one will notice right away if you skip a few rows on every sheet, saving a few screws. On a full room, those savings could add up.
We’re in a time of testing for markets, portfolios, and investors. When market volatility increases and economies slow, high-quality companies – with strong balance sheets, stable management, and sound business plans – tend to do better. Efficient companies can still be profitable even during an economic downturn, allowing them to maintain their dividend – and fund it from their internal cash flow. This makes their investors happy, and helps their portfolios outperform.
That barista at the small coffee shop was developing a quality that no one would notice. Until someone does.
Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Charter Trust Company
“The Best Trust Company in New England”