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破解成功CEO的五个迷思

更新时间:2018-2-4 11:03:23 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Busting the myths of successful CEOs
破解成功CEO的五个迷思

Andrew Silvernail grew up in a small town in the US state of Maine, where the local paper mill was one of the few businesses in the area.

安德鲁·西尔沃内尔(Andrew Silvernail)在美国缅因州(Maine)的一个小镇长大,当地的造纸厂是那一地区为数不多的企业之一。

Becoming the CEO of a global business never entered his mind; he had planned to be a doctor. “I didn’t even know what a business was,” he says. “I’m not being facetious.”

他从没想过成为一家跨国公司的CEO;他原本想当一名医生。"我当时甚至连企业是什么都不知道。"他说,"我没开玩笑。"

Silvernail caught the business bug in university, after helping a local businessman, a CEO of family run construction company, launch a political campaign. “He was an incredible value-driven person,” he says. “He had a sense of mission and tried to improve people’s lives.”

西尔沃内尔在大学期间发现了自己在商业方面的不足。他当时刚刚帮助一名当地商人发起了一场竞选活动,那人是一个家族建筑公司的CEO。"他是个无比看重价值的人。"他说,"他很有使命感,希望改善人们的生活。"

Later, while working as an analyst at financial firm, he met the chief executive of another company who suggested he should one day run a business himself. At the time he brushed off the idea – many of the famous CEOs he was aware of had an autocratic style of leadership that he didn’t like.

后来,在一家金融公司担任分析师的时候,他遇到了另外一家公司的CEO,那人建议他应该有朝一日自己运营企业。他当时并没在意——他知道很多著名CEO在领导风格上都很专制,可他不喜欢那样。

Over time however, Silvernail realised that people’s perceptions of what makes a successful CEO are sometimes wrong. He is now CEO of IDEX Corporation, a company worth $8.6 billion that develops numerous fluid-related products for the agriculture, fire safety and health industries.  It doesn’t matter if you’re introverted or extroverted, or have an overabundance of charisma, he says. What matters is how you treat employees, your work’s purpose, and being humble.

但一段时间之后,西尔沃内尔意识到一件事情,人们对成功的CEO所应具备的特质有时理解得并不正确。他现在是IDEX Corporation的CEO,这是一家市值86亿美元的公司,专门为农业、消防安全和医疗行业开发各种跟液体有关的产品。无论你是内向还是外向,或者充满非凡魅力,其实都不重要。真正重要的是你对待员工的方式、你工作的目的以及你是否为人谦逊。

“There are lot of powerful myths around what makes a good CEO,” says Silvernail. “Some [perceptions] are still strong, but some are starting to die.”

"提起究竟是什么造就了优秀的CEO,存在很多错误观念。"西尔沃内尔说,"有些观念至今仍然深入人心,但有的已经开始被人摒弃。"

He isn’t the only successful executive who once questioned whether he had good leadership credentials. According to research conducted by ghSMART, a Chicago-based management consulting firm, there are many misconceptions around what makes a good leader – many of them debunked by the company’s research – and that’s caused many a potential executive to think twice about chasing the corner office.

他并不是唯一一个曾经质疑自己是否能当好领导者的成功高管。根据芝加哥管理咨询公司ghSMART的一项研究,人们对于哪些因素造就了一个优秀的领导者存在很多误解——该公司的研究揭穿了很多真相——这也导致许多拥有领导潜力的人在追求管理职位前犹豫不决。

“You might think no one would bet on you becoming a CEO in 10 or 20 years,” says Elena Lytkina Botelho, a partner at ghSMART and founder of The CEO Genome Project, a 10-year study that has examined thousands of CEOs to determine what makes a successful leader. “What we found is encouraging in that people who come from ordinary beginnings can reach the top.”

"你或许认为没人会觉得你能在10年或20年内当上CEO。"ghSMART合伙人艾琳娜·利特吉娜·博特尔霍(Elena Lytkina Botelho)说。她还是"CEO基因组项目"(The CEO Genome Project)的创始人,这个历时10年的项目调查了数千名CEO,希望找出究竟是什么造就了一名成功的领导者。"我们发现了一件令人鼓舞的事情,出身平凡的人也可以到达高层。"

Myth 1: CEOs must be charismatic

误解一:CEO必须有超凡魅力

One of the most pervasive perceptions of a good company leader is that they need to be overflowing with charisma. Think General Electric former CEO Jack Welch or Apple’s Steve Jobs, larger-than-life personalities who could command a devout following. It’s something many headhunters or boards often look for in a CEO. “I’ve had conversations with board members who liked a potential CEO, but were concerned about them being an introvert,” says Botelho.

关于怎样才是一个优秀的公司领导者,目前最流行的观念之一就是他们需要充满超凡魅力。想想通用电气前CEO杰克·韦尔奇(Jack Welch)或苹果的史蒂夫·乔布斯(Steve Jobs),他们都拥有英雄般的个性,可以号令一批忠实的跟随者。很多猎头或董事会在寻找CEO时往往也很看重这一点。"我跟一些董事会成员聊过,他们喜欢某个CEO人选,但又担心此人有点内向。"博特尔霍说。

But it turns out charisma is overrated. When Lytkina Botelho looked at what kinds of CEO exceeded their boards’ expectations, introverts did slightly better than extroverts. While many companies hire the outwardly confident candidate, in part because they give a good interview, they might be missing a trick. “Being more likeable and confident makes you more likely to be hired in that role, but it has no relationship to performance,” says Botelho.

但实际上,超凡魅力的作用被夸大了。当利特吉娜·博特尔霍研究哪一类CEO能够超出董事会的预期时,她发现,内向的人反而表现略好于外向的人。虽然很多公司都会招聘表面上很自信的人,部分原因在于他们在面试中表现优秀,但他们或许犯了个错误。"惹人喜爱、彰显自信可以提高你应聘这个职位的概率,但这都跟业绩无关。"博特尔霍说。

Myth 2: CEOs shouldn’t admit when they’re wrong

误解二:CEO不应承认错误

Many CEOs have trouble owning up to a terrible mistake. Some see failure as a sign of weakness; others worry about how shareholders or board members might react.

很多CEO都不愿承认可怕的错误。有的人把错误视作软弱的信号,还有人担心股东和董事会的反应。

Failure, though, is key to success. Botelho found that nearly all CEOs had made significant mistakes, with 45% of them messing up so badly that it cost them their job or it was a major detriment to the business. Among candidates that either derailed their career or nearly ruined their business, 78% ended up landing a top job.

但失败乃成功之母。博特尔霍发现,几乎所有CEO都犯过严重错误,其中有45%把事情做的非常糟糕,甚至因此丢掉工作,或者对企业构成了严重伤害。在那些要么丢掉工作,要么几乎毁掉企业的候选人中,有78%最终当上了CEO。

The ones who could own up to their mistakes, and learn from them, were also the ones who had the strongest performance. “These are the people who can say ‘this didn’t go well, it was a disaster, but in hindsight I can tell you why,’” she says. “Weaker candidates tend to blame others or explain things away and that makes it harder for them to learn.”

如果不承认自己的错误,并从中吸取教训,那就无法获得最优异的表现。"这些人会说,'当时进展不好,确实是一场灾难,但事后看来,我可以给你解释原因。'"她说,"表现糟糕的候选人往往会埋怨他人,或者搪塞过去,这会导致他们更加难以吸取教训。"

Myth 3: CEOs need to be experienced in a particular sector

误解三:CEO需要拥有特定领域的经验

Just because someone hasn’t worked in a certain industry shouldn’t preclude them from a top job, says Alison Ryan, client services director at Executive Headhunters in Southampton. “Boards often believe that a CEO needs to have had experience their particular sector, when we can find that it can be a positive thing if they come from a different industry,” she says.

南安普顿Executive Headhunters公司客户服务总监阿里森·瑞恩(Alison Ryan)表示,单纯因为某人没有在某个行业工作过,并不妨碍他担任这个行业的高管。"董事会通常认为,一名CEO需要拥有他们所在行业的经验。但实际上,如果他们来自其他行业,反而是件好事。"她说。

In many cases, people form outside of a sector can bring a fresh perspective, new skills or different ideas to a company. “They can apply them without any pre-conceived ideas that might exist,” she says.

在很多情况下,来自另外一个行业的人反而可以引入新鲜视角、新的技能和不同观念。"他们可以将其付诸实践,而不会带有预设观念。"她说。

Industry expertise can be learned, she says. Having a range of experiences and strong soft skills, like managing staff well, and having solid problem solving skills, can go a longer way than knowing the intimate details of a sector.

她表示,专业知识可以事后补充。拥有丰富的经验和强大的软技能(例如管理员工的优秀技能和解决问题的可靠能力),比了解某个领域的具体细节更加重要。
 
Myth 4: CEOs must be autocratic

误解四:CEO必须独裁

Many people think that CEOs need to be ruthless, which is an idea that GE’s Welch popularised. Every year he would segment his workforce into three buckets: the top 20% of workers would get showered with praise, the middle 70% would receive coaching and the bottom 10% would get unceremoniously fired.

很多人都认为CEO应该冷酷无情,这也是通用汽车的韦尔奇倡导的一种理念。他每年都会把员工分成3类:20%表现最好的员工会得到嘉奖,中间的70%要参加培训,垫底的10%则会被无情解雇。

As Silvernail got to know more CEOs though his work as a financial analyst and as a budding executive, he came to realise that autocratic management was a detriment to business success. “Most people aren’t as capable as Jack Welch, so when people grab onto certain elements of his character, or when behaviours are done in a vacuum, they are massively damaging,” he says. “There’s an idea that intimidation is leadership.”

在担任财务分析师和新生代高管的过程中,西尔沃内尔逐渐意识到,专制的管理层会对企业的成功构成伤害。"多数人都不像杰克·韦尔奇那么有能力,所以当人们只抓住他性格中的某些元素,或者不顾自身所在的环境而采取某些行为时,就会产生巨大破坏。"他说,"有一种观念认为,恐吓也是一种领导力。"

While successful CEOs are decisive – ghSMART found that people who were thought of as decisive were 12 times more likely to be high performing executives – and make decisions with conviction, they often aren’t making those decisions from on high. The most successful ones try to get buy-in from employees, boards and shareholders.

虽然成功的CEO都很果断——ghSMART发现,那些被认为决策果断的人成为高绩效高管的概率达到普通人的12倍——制定决策时也很自信,但他们通常不会依据高层的指示制定这些决策。最成功的CEO都会努力赢得员工、董事会和股东的认同。

While they can’t be too soft or too hard – you can’t please everyone, nor can you be a dictator – there is happy medium that yields the best results. “Think of the CEO as an orchestra conductor,” says Botelho. “You have to have the ability to engage stakeholders toward the benefit of the overall company without being too extreme one way or the other.”

虽然他们既不能太软弱,也不能太强硬——你不能取悦所有人,也不能成为独裁者——但却有一种快乐的媒介能产生最好的结果。"把CEO看作是乐队指挥,"博特尔霍说,"你必须有能力让利益相关者从公司的整体利益出发,而不是过于极端。"

Myth 5: CEOs should have a top-tier education

误解五:CEO应该拥有一流的教育背景

Another myth is that you need to graduate from Harvard or Oxford to become a successful CEO. In fact, only 7% of the high-performing CEOs that The Genome Project studies had an Ivy League undergraduate education, while 8% didn’t even graduate from university.

另一个误区是,你需要从哈佛或牛津毕业,才能成为一名成功的CEO。事实上,在"CEO基因组项目"的研究中,只有7%的高绩效CEO拥有常春藤联盟的本科学历,有8%的人甚至没有大学毕业。

Jill Wight, a principal at private equity company The Carlyle Group, has hired many CEOs for the companies her firm invests in and agrees that a degree from a top school doesn’t by itself determine performance. “Strong intellectual horsepower” is a pre-requisite for success, she says, not the school you came from. “The presence of a degree is positive, but the absence of one isn’t by itself a negative,” she says.

私募股权公司凯雷集团(Carlyle Group)的负责人吉尔·怀特(Jill Wight)为她投资的公司招募过多位CEO,她认为,顶尖学校的学位本身并不决定业绩。她说:成功的先决条件是"强大的知识马力",而不是你毕业的学校。"有学位固然很好,但没有学位本身并不是坏事。"她说。

A degree from a top school is even less of an issue in the UK, says Ryan, where social class, not intelligence, would typically determine who went to the best universities. People know that where you graduate from doesn’t reflect how smart or savvy you may be.

瑞恩说,顶尖学校的学位在英国的作用甚至更小,因为谁能进入最好的大学通常是由社会阶层而非智力因素决定的。人们知道你从哪里毕业并不反映你有多聪明或水平有多高。

“It’s never a given in the UK that just because you have a certain level of intelligence that you would follow a particular route into higher education,” she says. “There a lot of other factors that determine where people go.”

"在英国,从来都不是因为你有一定的智力水平,你就能按照特定的路线接受高等教育。"她说,"还有很多其他因素决定着人们的去向。"

For Silvernail, who is a high-performing CEO according to Botelho, being a successful executive comes down to three things: making life better for his stakeholders – that’s shareholders, employees and the community at large – truly understanding the business he’s in and being people-centric.

对于西尔沃内尔来说(博特尔霍认为他也是一名高绩效CEO),能否成为一名成功的高管,取决于三件事情:改善利益相关者(包括股东、员工和整个社区)的生活、真正理解所在的行业、以人为本。

“I want to be able to be great,” he says. “That’s my job – to create an environment where people can be their best every day.”

"我想变得伟大。"他说,"这是我的工作——创造一个环境,让人们每天都能做到最好。"

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