Step 1: Eat the frog.

My CISL Personal Sustainability Challenge.

For about a year I’ve been thinking that the Investment Consulting industry should be working together more collaboratively to progress the Responsible Investment agenda.

If we continue to work in silos we risk coming up with multiple processes to achieve the same ends. This will create inefficiencies and slow down the adoption of Responsible Investment as everyone scrambles to decide which approach is best.

For example every fund manager research team is creating long due diligence lists for asset managers asking detailed questions about their ESG integration: our competitive advantage is in how we analyse the answers to these questions rather than writing the questions themselves so wouldn’t it be better to agree on a standardised core questionnaire?

Collectively we have a much better chance of moving the dial on Responsible Investment.

Despite the fact that it feels like a) common sense and b) peers have agreed that this would be valuable, I’ve procrastinated, and prioritised more urgent work over this project. I mentioned my lack of action recently to a mentor – his advice was to ‘Eat the Frog’.

Image result for mark twain eat frog quote

The concept of ‘Eating the Frog’ was first coined by Mark Twain and subsequently picked up by the author Brian Tracy in his time management book ‘Eat that Frog!‘.

Brian Tracy has a series of tips based around the idea of the ‘frog’ as your biggest, most important task and the one you are most likely to procrastinate on. To be productive, Tracy advocates tackling your major task first thing every morning and without thinking too much about it.

Two other tips stood out for me as blocks I’ve experienced in this particular project – avoid vague goals & the fact that the hardest part of the project is to start.

So – as my CISL personal sustainability challenge I have decided to ‘Eat the Frog’ and get the ball rolling on my vision of an Investment Consulting industry that works together to progress the Responsible Investment agenda.

First up on my list of specific actions is to email my peers at Investment Consulting firms and invite them to a meet up to discuss the concept.

I’m excited to start the conversation – watch this space for the next update!

One thought on “Step 1: Eat the frog.

  1. What a wonderful expression! I will certainly be thinking of frogs when finding myself procrastinating next time!
    I quite agree that the current due diligence is tiresome to both investors and investees. Everyone has a different way of asking questions, which is especially disturbing in a highly organised and process-oriented financial sector. This is an extremely important task and I congratulate you on concentrating on this frog (it is definitely one of the largest ones).

    On the other had, in my personal practice, I fear that a unified questionnaire will make the process more efficient, but in certain instances less impactful. I personally believe that due diligence should move away from asking any questions the answers to which can be found in the sustainability report or any other official disclosure of the company. It must become part of personal conversations between a coverage person (e.g. fund manager, I am not sure who conducts these tasks in your field) and the company. It can always be different and even forward-looking. I imagine it as some sort of knowledge exchange and sustainability education.

    Therefore, I am slightly torn between unification and creativity 🙂 I am looking forward to your future posts to see how a unified due diligence can help improve engagement and impact.

    Liked by 1 person

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