Broker dealers and banks have discovered that lots of people will make their financial services decisions based on their online experience – “how is my information delivered to me?” is ultimately the question being asked.  The same goes for choosing an advisor.  In nearly every reputable survey, both trust and communication are ranked above portfolio performance in priority by consumers.  Or: “how is information and advice delivered to me?”

A restaurant’s ambience and the meal’s presentation can seemingly impact our tastebuds to some extent.  This creates some sort of false reality (i.e. the sprinkle of parsley on the outer edge of my plate would mean nothing to a person with no sight), but it points back to delivery.

Two quarterbacks could each throw 5 TD passes in a game.  1 could have been a host of screen plays with short passes and great running and blocking.  The other could have been all 30-50 yard passes thrown perfectly in the corners of end zones.  Same box score, but we’re all suckers for the deep ball.

All the time, people speak of our nation’s divisiveness.  Is that because of vastly differing opinions or because we’re not very good communicators?  My experience is that if you allow the time (this might take hours), allow for nuance, and ask a hell of a lot more questions – you almost always discover far more similarity than difference, even with our most drastic counterparts.  But our delivery and lack of curiosity often deprives us of that possibility.

I’m leery to boil this down to “it’s not what you say, but how you say it.”  But, truth is usually far more simple than we want it to be.  It’s a lot more fun (and easier) to point at accomplishments and outcomes (what) than to put all our energy into descriptive nouns like patience and humility (how).

Quarterbacks, food, financial advice, politics – a surprising amount is delivery.  Which takes real effort to accept since labeling outcomes and conclusions good/bad is a nice short cut and keeps the narrative going.

A scoreboard is easier to analyze than how something comes to be.  But, it might be worth considering how much we care about the latter.

Thanks for reading.


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