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我得到过的最佳建议

《财富》 2013年11月07日

智慧的养成不仅需要时间,还需要人和人之间互动关系。这篇文章中的真知灼见就来自几对有影响力的二人组合:他们有的是商业伙伴、政府领导人、基金会的领导、导师、学生,还有的是更出色的人物。他们都拥有一种意愿,希望相互学习、一起变得更聪明。

1. 梅乐迪•霍布森和杰弗里•卡岑伯格

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

卡岑伯格:我最喜欢你的一个说法是“不要舍本逐末”。

霍布森:我见过的首席执行官犯下的最大错误是他们陷进短期目标,这就是舍本逐末。

卡岑伯格:我是个情绪化的人。(收购机遇)必须是一个商业决策,不能感情用事。她帮我剥离了事实以外的东西,用我不可能有的视角来看问题。

霍布斯:我们通了很多电话。杰弗里真的非常想进行那笔收购,但他缺乏支持。(我的介入是通过)列举出所有可能的结果,做一次认真的交谈:这是一个孤注一掷的行动吗?你想过这点、那点和其他情况吗?我并没有原原本本告诉他我的想法,而是尽量通过提问题把它点出来。

卡岑伯格:梅乐迪的艺术就蕴含在这里面。

霍布森:我说:“你相信这个数字吗?”他会说:“我压价40%。”我说:“好吧,如果你压价,这对于你的待人不疑意味着什么?”

卡岑伯格:她是提问的大师。她能问出谁也问不出的问题。你必须自己想办法回答。这可是真正的艺术。

霍夫森:最终,所有人都做了该做的事。

卡岑伯格:我们最终没有进行(那笔交易)。我不后悔。我在这个过程中学到了很多。董事会和公司也因为这段经历变得更好。

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.

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