Why Trust Matters

We believe that the depth of our relationships not only make a difference in business, but are among our key differentiators

Jack Welch perhaps said it best when he observed that “trust means confidence.”  When these characteristics – be it assurance in yourself or faith in the team behind you – underpin the pursuit of any objective, most discover that no goal or mission is ever too big to be out of reach. We’ve found this to be true whether in business, sports, public service, or in cultivating one’s faith. The catch, however, is that trust is far more difficult to foster and secure than most realize, which is why we don’t pay lip service to it in our efforts to create meaningful relationships.

At Weatherford Capital, we care deeply about people. Our belief is that people are not a means to an end, but an end in themselves. It is this ethos that shapes everything we do. In a market in which so many interactions can be “transactional” in nature, it can almost seem conspicuous when somebody is intentional about building a relationship with no strings attached. But as a family-owned private investment firm, our values are not sculpted by the industry, rather they are sculpted by humble beginnings and parents who continually reinforced God’s greatest command, “To love God and love people.” (Mark 12:30-31). 

Our approach to relationships is centered on the idea that in today’s complex, disruptive global marketplace, it takes a versatile and robust network to be successful. In our experience, it is never the best players who win, it’s the best team; and by serving our partners, friends, and community in all that we do, leveraging our unique skill set to add value, and calling on our network to augment what we bring to the table, we will together create material value for the companies we own, the projects we undertake, and the investors we serve.

To cite one example, our portfolio company PayIt works with local, state and federal governments to create digital platforms that modernize and simplify how people can interact with the government. Our ability to educate our friends in the public sector to find better solutions for their constituents while enabling the company to expand and diversify its client base, is a good example of how our relationships translate into outcomes in which everyone wins. 

But it doesn’t happen without trust. Trust will never take root if our actions don’t display the following over an extended period of time: (1) A high level of integrity, (2) an intent to benefit all parties involved, (3) confidence in our capabilities to ultimately achieve consistent results

The payoff, while not outwardly evident, can be profound. When we put our relationships first; when we are transparent in our intentions; and when we do what we say (even when nobody is looking), the trust engendered translates into confidence. And confidence is the catalyst for teamwork, creativity and alignment, which serve as the bedrock for our firm.

ArticleLukas Naugle
The Weatherford Way

There is a school of thought that says purpose statements should be aspirational. The problem -- when you look across an industry with more than 7,000 private equity firms, each competing for talent and new deals – is that these statements proclaiming either a firm’s mission or its values all start to sound the same. Yet we at Weatherford Capital are quite different from the more traditional PE fund managers.

With this in mind, in crafting our purpose statement, we chose to focus less on what we want to accomplish and more on what we know to be true, which is simply this: Together, we can accomplish more, making a positive impact on the world.

On paper or on screen, this sentiment on its own may not carry much weight. As much as we talk about our shared commitment to faith, honesty, loyalty, hard work and collaboration, for these ideas to “earn” their substance, they need to be evident in everything we do. Which is why each day this ethos informs our relationships, our investments, how we recruit and promote a culture of empowerment and trust, our expansive philanthropic efforts, and how we carry out our fiduciary duty to our investors. It’s also why we are so transparent, and across the board get as much satisfaction out of rolling up our sleeves to take on a big hairy challenge as we do when it’s time to celebrate the wins.

It’s a small-point, but it’s also symbolic: we aren’t structured as a rigid fund with a defined window to market it, make commitments, and then realize those investments over a set period. We are true long-term investors. We partner with business owners, trust their vision, and work alongside them as long as necessary to fulfill it. We understand the unique nature of family businesses because we are a family business. This instills a sense of humility and pride that can only be forged over a lifetime across a dinner table.

As much as we can talk about The Weatherford Way, it’s not until people work with us -- and see and hear how we work with them – that it begins to resonate. While we believe it comes through on our podcast, more than anything else, we know it comes through over time and in working with us. Because as a family-owned alternative investment firm, we are different, and we believe that is where our unique edge lies.

ArticleDrew Weatherford