Friday, July 31, 2009

Teamwork and Trading Success

When producer Danger Mouse (right above) and rapper/vocalist Cee-Lo Green (left) created the Gnarls Barkley collaboration, the result was music that was qualitatively different than either artist had achieved previously. That music, nominated for four Grammy awards, is most familiar to the public via the song "Crazy". Perhaps even more creative is Chris Milk's video for their song "Who's Gonna Save My Soul?" The combination of the collaborative music and the collaboration with the video producer created quite a novel piece of work.

I've seen this with traders as well. Individually the traders achieve modest results, but teamed together, the whole becomes more than the sum of the parts. This is common at investment banks and hedge funds: getting the right people "on the desk" is a huge part of success. The right team inspires each other, informs each other, and brings the best out in each other.

When you're part of a team, you become accountable to your teammates. Suddenly that makes discipline a greater imperative. Many times we won't let others down, where we might cut corners on our own.

As in a marriage, we become greater when we find the right partners.