Culture is critical to achieving investment excellence. Investing is a tough business and the market will eventually uncover any weaknesses in our investment views. The power of ideas and thought must therefore be central in how we operate. Fostering the creation of brilliant ideas and investment thought leadership starts with a strong learning organisation culture, discussed more below. It is then put into practice through empowerment (with accountability) and teamwork. Investing is a human capital business; to get the most out of smart, talented people they need the freedom to explore and implement their talents while being given the appropriate resources, support, and mentorship. To allow these ideas to come to the forefront, we need strong intellectual honesty with a healthy collision of ideas — there is no room for politics or bureaucracy. To incentivise these efforts, we need a true meritocracy where people are rewarded for their contributions to the long-term investment excellence of the firm. Finally, we must strive for rationality in everything we do, making all implicit decisions explicit and removing biases and inconsistencies in our decision-making wherever possible.
Kalakau Avenue as a Learning Organisation
This component of culture deserves a special mention. Continuous improvement is critical to our mission of achieving investment excellence. A strong learning organisation culture starts with individuals. We can only hire people who are highly intellectually curious and obsessed with learning and self-betterment. We must also provide individuals the time, freedom, and support to learn, though individuals with a strong learning mindset always take accountability for their own learning. This individual learning culture is Level I. Level II is about capturing and sharing individual learnings to enable the team’s knowledge to compound faster than any individual. Level II requires strong team players who take the time to share their learnings with others, even if this is at the expense of their own immediate efficiency. Level III is the systematic capture of the team's learnings to implement, change, and improve process. Level III learners require strategic thinking with long-term vision. They inspire others and build coalitions for organisational change, rarely being satisfied with the status quo.
The use of technology is key in reducing collaborative learning friction — our centralised research management system is key here for all levels of organisational learning. However, while technology helps, the real driver is and always will be our culture.