Thursday, February 28, 2019

Taking the Risk of Accountability

SMB recently published top trading tweets from their prop desk.  There are good ideas there, but one jumped out at me.  It encouraged traders to post their report cards daily, not just their P/L.  Sharing P/L each day can be humbling, but sharing your report card is something different.  The report card includes everything we've done well and also the mistakes we've made.  If we've traded poorly from a process vantage point, it will show up dramatically on the report card, even if P/L is relatively flat.  Sharing our process grades makes us extra-accountable.  It's taking a risk.

It's very interesting:  one thing I've found predictive of a trader's success is the amount of detail they share with me in meetings.  Some traders are really upset about not doing well and provide exhaustive detail to track down what they might be doing wrong.  They have very specific goals and very detailed ways of tracking their progress on those.  They come to meetings with me with prepared questions and topics to discuss.  Very often, they have materials to share with me prepared as well.

Other traders breeze in and don't have a specific agenda.  They talk about what's going right and wrong in a very general sense, but there is no particular urgency in their presentation.  Their goals are broad; they are not tracked on a systematic basis.  Many times, they will use time with me to complain about market conditions, not to truly discuss their trading.

Bottom line is that some traders take real psychological risks when they meet with mentors or coaches.  The kimono is wide open.  Other traders stay comfortable.  They take few risks; they avoid uncomfortable realities.

If you can't take risk when you meet with team members, how will you effectively take risk when market conditions line up?

Comfort is the enemy of change.  The big risk is staying stuck in the status quo.

Further Reading: