Performance Perspectives Blog

One possible reason for the reluctance to hear different views

by | Oct 15, 2012

The weekend WSJ often provides fodder for this blog, though this is the first that I recall it came from Peggy Noonan. Her assessment of Thursday’s Vice Presidential debate (“Confusing Strength With Aggression“) in this past weekend’s edition was quite insightful. But the source for today’s post can be seen as independent of the debate critique. She offered the following:

“Age can seem reactionary, resistant to change in part because change carries a rebuke: You and your friends have been doing things wrong, we need a new approach.” [emphasis added]

A few of the new ideas that I and others have championed have met with resistance from some in our industry. For example:

  • My call to eliminate the aggregate method to calculate composite returns (for the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS(R))
  • Our desire to see broader acceptance and employment of money-weighted  returns.

It had never occurred to me before that some may interpret these suggestions as rebukes, as this was never our intent. But surely we can rise above this, can we not?

The irony is Noonan’s linking of the resistance to change to age, as if those who don’t want it are older. In spite of my youthful appearance, the reality is that I am one of the oldest folks in our industry!Those who oppose the ideas put forward are in all cases younger than I am. Why must they be so wedded to their ideas that they resist being open to new ones? Can our industry advance when some (and sometimes those who hold positions of authority) refuse to even consider change?