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Gaining the Edge

Posted by Larry Doyle on December 17, 2010 7:20 AM |

What competitive individual worth his salt does not want to ‘gain the edge’? Have you ever come across successful individuals–success being a very relative term–who did not want to ‘gain an edge’ and then widen the gap with the competition? I haven’t.

I had fully intended on writing this morning about the ongoing developments in the insider trading scandal sweeping across Wall Street. ‘Gaining the edge’ is very much the common thread that runs through this story. The lengths to which selected individuals would go to ‘gain that edge’ make for interesting reading. The wearing of wiretaps by informants adds to the intrigue. Where will the story lead? Which hedge funds may be implicated? What ‘masters of the universe’ may fall while pursuing their untold riches and accompanying success?

Then I thought, why would I want to take readers into this seamy world and give attention to those who may break the rules to ‘gain that edge.’ I don’t. At least not today. While I am glad that illegal and unethical behaviors are being addressed and hopefully properly adjudicated, I personally think America is sick of these stories emanating from Wall Street. I have written about the ongoing insider trading scandal before and I am sure I will again. I provided my views on the likely collusion behind this scandal in a CNBC interview a month ago. For today, though, let’s move on.

Given the time of the season, let’s focus on individuals with real creative genius who ‘gained the edge’ and did it in very admirable fashion. The world is filled with ingenious people possessing truly creative minds and fabulous work ethic. I love finding these individuals and reading about them. I have learned many fabulous lessons in the process.

Given my love of sports and business, it is no surprise that some of my favorite individuals come from these fields. Who are some of my favorites?  John Wooden, Tony Dungy, John Bogle, and Mark McCormack (founder of IMG), amongst others. Especially Wooden!! What do these individuals possess? Almost immeasurable competitiveness. Vision. Integrity.

These individuals were able to utilize these phenomenal skills to ‘gain the edge’ and build fabulous teams and organizations. They shared their greatness in a number of books. Their followers love them and idolize them. These individuals embodied character traits that are also very much the essence of ‘sense on cents.’

While the insider trading scandal will capture the news today and may leave a mark on the financial industry for the future, I would venture to guess that five years from now –if not a mere five months–the vast majority of individuals implicated in this insider trading case will have passed from our view with very few lessons learned by most in our nation.

If you really want to ‘gain an edge’ read the works of these aformentioned individuals. Five years from now, you will remember their works and their lessons.

Which individuals in your lives have ‘gained that edge’ and inspired you?

Larry Doyle

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I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own and not those of Greenwich Investment Management. As President of Greenwich Investment Management, an SEC regulated privately held registered investment adviser, I am merely a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

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