At a Paradigm Learning Executive Team meeting in 2010, we were discussing new clients and their implementations of our products and services. Several clients had recently partnered with us on the design of customized Discovery Map® programs to communicate critical strategies and initiatives to their employees. These clients had made significant investments of time and money to ensure that everyone was aligned and committed to the company vision.
Other organizations were implementing Zodiak®: The Game of Business Finance and Strategy with large numbers of their managers. These clients had admirably clear goals: They wanted to develop managers across the enterprise who clearly and deeply understood the business of their business—the financial and strategic imperatives driving competitive success—and they wanted to engage them in contributing to top- and bottom-line performance.
Around our conference table at Paradigm Learning, we agreed that since these companies were making major investments in our solutions for the benefit of their companies, their employees and their customers, we should have the confidence to invest our money in their companies. So we invited our money managers at Morgan Stanley to meet us at our offices to discuss our new investment strategy. We told them we wanted to support companies that were investing in the purposeful business education of their managers and employees. They smiled and advised us that we might want to proceed with caution because making money in the stock market took a lot of analysis and was best managed by experts. We smiled back, stuck to our plan and suggested that we compare the return on our client company investment portfolio to our other Morgan Stanley investment accounts.
Over a three-year period, from 2010 to 2012, we bought stock in Bayer, Conagra Foods, Comcast, Esterline Technologies, FedEx, Fiserv, Green Mountain Coffee, Juniper Networks, Loblaws, Lockheed Martin, Pfizer and Boeing.
Just a couple of weeks ago, as the government shutdown and debt-ceiling debates raged on, we decided to take the profits from these investments. How did we do? Our three-year return was 66 percent, averaging a 19.8 percent return per year with a high of 33.5 percent in our best year. And how did our money managers do with our other investments during the same period? Not bad, but the return was 31 percent overall with their best year at 13 percent.
The bottom line? Paradigm Learning’s strategy of investing in our clients that make significant investments in the business education of their employees gave us a return 116 percent higher than what our highly trained money managers were able to accomplish!
Of course, our friends at Morgan Stanley suggested that we got lucky and that a better comparison would be a five-year time frame. We told them we didn’t want to embarrass them any further!
Paradigm Learning’s investment strategy remains intact. We invest our money in companies that invest their money in their employees—it’s just that simple.