I once worked in a company where I was among the most productiveemployees.

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Not only was I the font of new and innovative ideas, but Ieffectively and efficiently implemented them. It seemed the more Iaccomplish, the more voracious my appetite came to achievemore.

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I quickly developed a “can-do” reputation. If the boss wantedsomething done, I was the guy he was call upon. My peers knew Iwould be the most reliable member of their project team.

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Read: Does myRA breach fiduciaryduty?

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I didn't spend a lot time talking once the talking was done. Inthe spirit of Nike, before Nike even had an inkling of theirspirit, I just did it.

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I'm not being immodest; I'm just trying to make a point. Allowme, however, to first set the table.

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Many recognize the invaluable benefits provided byfiduciaries to their clients.

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We see this in the movement away from constant “investment talk”to an increased focus on “retirement readiness” (see “401k Plan Sponsors Shift from Investment Focus toEmphasizing Retirement Readiness,” FiduciaryNews.com,January 5, 2015).

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Indeed, veteran fiduciaries can navigate through theirduties like they were the back of their hand. The appearance ofeffortlessness does not diminish the quality–or the results–oftheir work.

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Unfortunately, “results” often float in the cloud ofimmeasurability. That's when things can get dicey.

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This is especially true in the retirement arena. We cannotmeasure the success of any fiduciary service until many years intothe future.

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Through those years, the data that can be measured features arather volatile nature. You're up. You're down. One minute you'reridin' high in April. The next you're shot down in May.

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These fluctuations, though acute they seem in the near-term,matter little in the grand scheme of things.

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For the typical retirement saver, the short-term harkens like atempting Lorelei, sensuously beckoning the naïve to shipwreck theirsavings on the rocky shore of near-sightedness.

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For this reason, an experienced fiduciary provesirreplaceable.

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Because a true fiduciary is not beholden to any particularproduct (and for those of you thinking this, a “style” is not aproduct, it's a philosophy), who better is suited to dissuade theretirement saver from succumbing to the sizzle of the latestinvesting fad?

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Yet, it is the very selling of the sizzle that generates much ofthe “measurable” the public finds so alluring. And by “measurable,”I mean exuding in observable (if not ostentatious) effort.

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In a sense, the cool, calmness of reliable efficiency fails todemonstrate the kind of effort we have since our days on the fieldsof so many playgrounds been taught to adulate, emulate, and,finally, reward.

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I'm not talking about events in the actual game, I'm referringto what happens in practice.

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The coach wants you to run your fastest, jump your highest, andhit your hardest. If you neglect to display the appropriate effort,you'll never get the chance to achieve the results you'd like towhen the time comes to play the game. You'll be riding thebench.

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Such is at once the dilemma and the challenge of thefiduciary.

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On one hand, if you do your job too well, you know you shouldreceive bountiful rewards.

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On the other hand, if doing your job too well makes it suggestyou're not putting forth the effort, not only are you likely to getpassed over for that reward you so richly deserve, but there's anequal chance someone who is much better at showmanship will replaceyou.

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Which brings us back to my opening braggadocio. When the timecame for the rewards to be distributed, I found myself on the shortend of the stick. Why?

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It wasn't based on the merits. No one had created new businesslines like I did. No one had generated marginal profit like I did(indeed, no one has generated marginal profit–period).

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In fact, no one had accomplished as much as I did, no one wasmore publicly recognized, and no one had the same potential tosucceed without the being coddled by the firm.

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But they all had one thing I did not: They all put in more hoursat the office than I did.

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It didn't matter that I could do more in eight hours than theycould ever do in sixteen. They showed the proper effort. Ididn't.

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They got the brass ring. I didn't. They stayed at that firm. Ididn't.

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And I've since accomplished more than I could ever dream of.

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The fiduciary cannot confuse effort with results. The fiduciarycannot allow others to define his worth. Not everyone values what afiduciary offers. The fiduciary must recognize this and, quitesimply, not waste the unwanted effort on these people.

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Does that sound harsh? I've reported in the past that thefiduciary has an obligation to make the difficult decision.

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This applies not only to the best interests of the client, butthe best interests of the fiduciary.

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