Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Portfolio and diversification

While most of the readers of this blog know me mainly as the leader of BonaResponds, my real job is a finance professor, so I guess it should not come as a surprise that when I got stuck today trying to describe the day, I fell back on finance to explain it.

In finance we often speak of the importance of diversification within your portfolio. That way if some asset does poorly, it will be offset by some assets that does well.

With that in mind I will say the day was not a loss. There were some teams (in Arkansas, in Pass Christian, and even a couple of teams here in Pearlington) that did very well. The gains made by this crews off set the less than stellar days the teams associated with me had.

What went wrong? It was not the lack of desire, motivation, or effort, but rather something that was out of the hands of the volunteers (both literally and figuratively): tools.

The lack of tools and supplies was very apparent from the start. The roll-out was delayed as Rick looked for supplies. Two teams were dropped at sites without paint, brushes, or tools of any kind. When supplies arrived, the supplies were not enough to allow all to work at once. This continued for the entire morning until a few of us could get back from buying nearly $300 of supplies that were donated from BonaResponds.

But even then the work was slow-going, so in spite of a strong rally at the close of the day (priming walls got done in several rooms), both teams down in the dumps as we
arrived back in camp.

Once there, news of good days at other sites in Pearlington lifted our overall tally. And when news from Arkansas and Pass Christian arrived, we were able to see that overall BonaResponds did a great deal of good today. Overall we had cut trees, cleaned yards, hung drywall, sanded drywall, primed, textured, and even stopped to cheer some residents we had helped on past trips.

Thus, proving that once again that finance is correct and it really is the overall portfolio performance, and not that of a single asset, that serves as the correct measure of performance. By this broader measure, the performance of BonaResponds was very good indeed!

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