What Can a Hit Sitcom Teach Us About Collaboration?
I recently had the opportunity to attend a presentation by Dave Goetsch, executive producer and writer for “The Big Bang Theory,” the runaway hit (and often top-ranked) show for CBS, currently wrapping up its 11th season. Dave has been with the show since its second episode, so he’s seen it grow from an early idea to a bonafide success.
Dave has an interesting relationship to investment management. His success as a TV writer brought him wealth, so he sought the help of a financial advisor to manage it. What he discovered was that professional help brought him more than just monetary rewards; it gave him peace of mind, too. In short, he’s become a convert, and he’s been especially impressed with the investment philosophy of Dimensional Fund Advisors. In fact, he’s become such a believer that he now even consults for them on the side. (He wrote a fascinating essay about his journey to becoming a “transformed investor”.)
During his presentation, Dave walked us through the life of a TV writer. In many ways his experiences seemed fantastical and alluring, filled with show runners, beautiful actors, and high-stakes deadlines. And yet, as I listened, the one idea I heard repeatedly was one that was deeply familiar to my experiences at Truepoint: Collaboration.
Since the beginning, its creators insisted on a culture of collaboration. We’re not talking about a process where one or two writers work on the scripts and then send them in for review. Quite the opposite. The entire writing team works on each script together, bouncing jokes off of one another and making edits as a team after the cast finishes the first read. This very iterative process has taught Dave a very important lesson: that the creative process is much easier—and produces much better results—when a group of smart, hardworking individuals works together. The process is even more streamlined and efficient, too.
The parallels to Truepoint hit me immediately. Collaboration is one of our core values—so much so, that we even named a conference room after it! But collaboration isn’t just a word on a conference room door. It underlies everything we do, and we believe it is the key to creating an exemplary client experience. Sure, everybody’s talking about “collaboration” today, but at Truepoint, we live it.
Perhaps the pinnacle of Truepoint collaboration is our client meeting prep huddle—a series of meetings in which an entire team of specialists gathers to prepare for a client meeting. At these huddles, we take a comprehensive look at a client’s financial standing. A tax specialist will provide a recap on a complicated return filing, for example, while a financial planning specialist might recommend that the client take an early retirement package. Truepoint’s services are truly integrated because our clients’ lives are truly integrated.
In contrast, many in the industry still treat each specialty as a silo. Perhaps the whole team attends the formal meeting with the client, but outside of those occasions, the disparate members rarely get together. At Truepoint, we recognize that “collaboration” means more than just getting along with one another. It means that we work together to create a solution that is better than what any one of us would have come up with on our own.
Collaboration can also be seen in the ways we engage all the members of our team—the people we consider our “internal clients.” Take a look at our Culture Club, composed of colleagues from across the organization who work together to create exceptional employee experiences through workshops, informal gatherings, and learning opportunities.
So, the next time you see “The Big Bang Theory,” take a moment to think about the extensive collaboration that goes on behind the scenes. And, maybe ask yourself if your financial life is benefiting from the same kind of teamwork. “Collaboration” shouldn’t just be a word companies use because it sounds good; it should be a principle, a value, a way of doing business, every day.