10年前，星巴克公司（Starbucks）首席执行官霍华德•舒尔茨将梅乐迪•霍布森引见给梦工厂动画公司（DreamWorks Animation SKG）的首席执行官杰弗里•卡岑伯格。卡岑伯格花了5秒种就决定让霍布森加入他的董事会。霍布森当年44岁，现在是梦工厂的非执行董事长，还在星巴克、雅诗兰黛（Estée Lauder）和团购网站Groupon公司担任董事。62岁的卡岑伯格解释说，她是一位有价值的顾问，因为她能把复杂的问题简化，总是考虑长远，提出疑问时不会咄咄逼人。两人回忆说，有一次，他想要做一笔“数十亿美元的收购”，而她明智的劝告阻止了他。梦工厂的首席执行官在洛杉矶边吃早餐边说：“如果说她是拳击手，她能打出一记足令你倒下的重拳，给你的感觉却像是被一根羽毛击中。--Patricia Sellers
1.Mellody Hobson & Jeffrey Katzenberg
A decade ago, when Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz introduced Mellody Hobson to DreamWorks Animation SKG (DWA) chief Jeffrey Katzenberg, it took Katzenberg five seconds to decide that he wanted Hobson on his board of directors. Hobson, the 44-year-old president of Chicago-based Ariel Investments, is now DreamWorks' nonexecutive chairman and also on the boards of Starbucks (SBUX, Fortune 500), Estée Lauder (EL, Fortune 500), and Groupon (GRPN). She's a valuable adviser, the 62-year-old Katzenberg explains, because she simplifies complex problems, always thinks long term, and asks questions in an unthreatening way. "If Mellody were a boxer, she would have a knockout punch that would make you feel like you got hit by a feather," the DreamWorks CEO said over breakfast in Los Angeles, as the two recalled one time when he wanted to make a "multibillion-dollar acquisition" and her wise counsel stopped him. --Patricia Sellers
Katzenberg: My favorite expression of yours is "Don't major in the minor."
Hobson: The biggest mistake I see CEOs make is that they get caught up in the short term. That's majoring in the minor.
Katzenberg: I'm an emotional person. [This acquisition opportunity] needed to be a business decision, not an emotional decision. She helped peel away the things that were not the facts and look at it in a way that I wasn't able to do on my own.
Hobson: It was many, many hours on the phone. Jeffrey really wanted to do it, and he didn't have the support. [I approached the situation by] laying out all the potential outcomes and having a real conversation about: Is this a bet-the-ranch move? Did you think of this, that, and the other? As opposed to telling him what I thought, I tried to get at it with questions.
Katzenberg: Therein lies Mellody's art.
Hobson: I'd say, "Do you believe this number?" He'd say, "I discounted the number by 40%." And I said, "Well, if you're discounting the number, what does this say about your belief in the people?"
Katzenberg: She is the Picasso of questions. She can ask a question like nobody else. You have to find in yourself the answer to it. There's a real art to that.
Hobson: Ultimately everyone did the right thing.
Katzenberg: We didn't do [the deal]. I was okay that we didn't do it. I learned a lot from the process. The board and the company are better for the experience.