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Bosses Learn Not To Be So #Clueless

Boardroom commanders are being assigned to basic training.


Fearful their companies will fall behind because top bosses don't have a firm grasp of technology or digital media, senior managers are taking lessons on how the Internet works.


Some firms are pairing individual leaders with young mentors, while others are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to teach the entire c-suite how to use social tools that most of their entry-level employees use without a second thought.


The goal isn't for the CEO to parse the difference between a 'like' and 'share' on Facebook or take a spin on the company Twitter account, though that is covered, too. Rather, instructors and managers say, a basic understanding of the digital landscape helps leaders make better decisions about what to invest in, as well as how to talk about it.


In the past 18 months, senior staffers from companies including American Express Co., NYSE Euronext and PepsiCo Inc. have gone to the Manhattan classrooms of General Assembly, which offers courses in coding and product design, to learn how to analyze data and think like a tech entrepreneur. A two-day program can cost $60,000.

在过去的一年半中,美国运通公司(American Express Co.)、纽约泛欧证交所(NYSE Euronext)和百事公司(PepsiCo Inc.)的高层们都走进了General Assembly公司位于曼哈顿的教室,学习如何分析数据并像科技创业者一样思考,那里提供的课程包括编程和产品设计。两天的课程花费可达60,000美元(约合人民币363,200元)。

In a recent class, 22 senior managers at advertising agency Draftfcb Healthcare were asked to draw Facebook from memory as part of a lesson about user experience. One participant muttered that she had 'no idea what Facebook looks like' as her colleagues laughed uncomfortably.

在近期一堂关于用户体验的课上,22名来自博达大桥(Draftfcb Healthcare)广告公司的高管被要求根据记忆绘制出Facebook界面。一名参与者在同事们尴尬的笑声中嘟哝道她“根本不知道Facebook长什么样”。

But they all managed to sketch the social-media site and then discussed how factors like color and clutter affect the user experience. Later, in a mobile-product session, participants used an iPad app to try on glasses virtually.


Lisa Dujat, the ad firm's senior vice president and chief HR officer, likens the courses to 'having prunes in your brownie' -- fun but high-fiber -- and says the sessions are crucial to keep the company current.

纽约时报中英文网 www.qqenglish.com

丽萨·迪雅(Lisa Dujat)是这家广告公司的副总裁和首席人力资源官,她将课程比作“布朗尼上的梅子干”──有趣并且有益,她还说这些内容对于让公司紧跟时代来说至关重要。

Mediabistro Inc., a media job board and training site, also offers short corporate-training programs for executives, mainly on-site at the client's offices, to firms in media, consumer products, finance and hospitality. The sessions don't just cover the basics of a Twitter feed. They put the service in context, explaining which strategies work and what a company's competitors have done, says Gretchen VanEsselstyn, director of education.

媒体职业平台及培训网站Mediabistro 同样提供短期公司高管培训项目,主要是在客户办公室进行现场培训,其客户包括媒体、消费品、金融和服务业的公司。其培训总监格雷琴·范埃塞尔斯廷(Gretchen VanEsselstyn)说,他们的课程不仅有Twitter订阅源等基础知识,还把培训内容与现实情况结合起来,解释何种策略有效以及公司的竞争对手做了什么。

Other companies ask young people to show them the ropes. Fifteen University of Miami students are mentoring executives in Citigroup Inc.'s Latin America unit on the lives and digital habits of millennials.

还有些公司请年轻人向高管们进行演示。15名来自迈阿密大学(University of Miami)的学生正在指导花旗集团(Citigroup Inc.)拉美事业部的高管们,告诉他们新千年出生的一代人的生活方式和网络、数码产品的使用习惯。

Ana Fernanda Ruiz, a senior finance and management-science major, says her mentee, a managing director, wanted to learn how to connect with younger clients and future employees. In monthly meetings, Ms. Ruiz has been addressing topics including how she and her friends make purchases on mobile devices.

安娜·费尔南达·鲁伊斯(Ana Fernanda Ruiz)是金融和管理科学专业大四的学生,她说自己的学员,一名总经理,想要学习如何与年轻客户以及未来的雇员打交道。在他们的月度会面时,鲁伊斯谈论的话题包括她和朋友们如何使用移动设备购物。

Some senior managers simply need vocabulary lessons. Greg Verdino, an executive coach in Huntington, N.Y., tells of one former client, a financial-services manager, who was seeking a new job but stumbled in interviews when speaking of his ability to use 'socmed' -- an abbreviation he had created for 'social media.' Recruiters were befuddled, Mr. Verdino says, adding that he taught the client new lingo.

一些高管只是需要词汇课。格雷格·维尔迪诺(Greg Verdino)是纽约亨廷顿(Huntington)的一名高管教练,他之前的客户是一名正在找新工作的金融服务经理,但他在面试中谈及使用“socmed”(social media即社交媒体的缩写,是维尔迪诺所创)的能力时就结结巴巴。维尔迪诺说,招聘者感到大惑不解。他还说,是他教会了客户新的术语。

Then there's the senior marketing executive who tried too hard to prove his digital savvy, name-dropping social-media sites such as Dodgeball, a location-based networking service shuttered in 2009. 'He looked clueless,' Mr. Verdino says.


Still other coaches have horror stories of clients who come in using the word 'interwebs.'


At best, training efforts are designed to allow executives and, in turn, companies to keep pace with changing market conditions and customer needs.


'Ninety-nine percent of executives say [digital growth] is important, but only 10% of companies are satisfied with the speed at which they are making the transition,' says Michael Robson, general manager of General Assembly's enterprise business.

General Assembly企业业务总经理迈克尔·罗伯森(Michael Robson)说:“百分之九十九的高管们都表示数码科技带来的增长十分重要,但只有百分之十的公司对于目前公司自身进行转型的速度表示满意。”

Draftfcb Healthcare chose to invest in digital training after realizing that junior staffers' new ideas weren't getting much traction because bosses didn't understand their tech-heavy proposals. Young workers felt 'a little bit disenfranchised,' Ms. Dujat says.


Stephanie Walcoe, a vice president at financial advisory David Lerner Associates Inc., hired Sally Falkow to teach her team about the importance of online reputation after the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority filed complaints against the Syosset, N.Y.-based company in 2011.

斯蒂芬妮·维尔科(Stephanie Walcoe)是金融咨询公司David Lerner Associates Inc.的副总裁,在2011年美国金融业监管局(Financial Industry Regulatory Authority)对这家位于纽约州赛奥希特(Syosset)的公司提起诉讼之后,她雇佣了萨莉·法尔科(Sally Falkow)教授她的团队网络声誉的重要性。

David Lerner didn't sell products online, so executives had paid little attention to the Web. But the flood of negative posts made Ms. Walcoe realize she needed a better handle on how Web searches affect customer choices.

David Lerner公司并不在网上销售商品,所以高管们对网络不甚在意。到那时如潮的恶评让维尔科意识到她需要更好地掌握网络搜索如何影响顾客决策。

Ms. Falkow, the CEO of Meritus Media Inc., explained search-engine optimization and showed the team other ways to neutralize negative headlines. The staff now regularly checks its search-engine results and takes action when bad results bubble up.

法尔科是Meritus Media Inc.公司的首席执行官,她解释了搜索引擎优化的概念,并向团队展示了中和负面新闻的其他方法。员工如今会定期检查搜索结果并在负面新闻产生时采取行动。

Ms. Walcoe, 48 years old, says she had a Facebook page at the time but 'knew nothing about how the Internet worked.'




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