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以身作则:永不过时的老派生意经

Scott Weiss 2011年10月26日

硅谷企业经常过分专注于各类"新新"方式,它们时常忘记了,它们只是在重新发现一些可追溯至涉及商业根本的朴素教训。

    首先,他在店铺里转悠的时候,总是不停地捡垃圾:小包装袋、回形针、烟头,以及没有准确击中垃圾桶的皱纸杯。我最初注意到这一点时,以为他是想以身垂范,让我个人明白某个道理(毕竟,我是位助理店员)。但很明显他不只是在我面前捡垃圾,他一直都这样做,毫不做作,不事张扬。我从未听他说:"难道不能把垃圾放入垃圾篓么?"他只是把垃圾捡起来,放入篓中。此外,总能发现他在整理店中的东西:弹弹枕头、扶正相框、还原酒吧凳,蹲下来弄平摇摇晃晃的桌子。

    有一天,商铺后面的对讲机响了:"斯科特•韦斯(作者的名字——译注),到前面去搬货。"我回想起我的初中校规,当然没有疾步冲向前台;可是当我按时赶到那里时,我发现叔叔正跟随一位女士走出店铺,手里拿着一只茶几。"哦!"他从未提起过这件事——他只是做了。

    虽然这是一个高档家具店,但埃德叔叔却异常节俭。他从不会省工省料,但憎恶浪费。"斯科特,没必要用那么多泡沫包装一盏灯。来,我示范给你看。"在家里,他洗完手后会把纸巾放在台面上晾晒干:"纸巾又没脏,只是湿了。"好吧,说他节俭是有点轻描淡写了。

    家具店里有80位员工,埃德知道他们每个人的名字。他也认识店员的家人。不管他在何时何地碰到其中的任何一位,他总会跟他们进行一番真切的沟通——不是那种假装热情的寒暄。"你儿子啥时候毕业?""你怎么修好那个划痕的?哇,看起来很完美。"他总是面带微笑,兴趣盎然的眼神似乎是在说:"你对我很重要。"

    在竞争激烈、利润微薄、参与者众多的零售行业,埃德希望用沃尔玛式(Wal-Mart)的超低预算,推广布鲁明戴尔百货店(Bloomingdale's)的名牌产品。展厅必须美观大方,一尘不染——要与品牌相匹配。客户服务是至关重要的一环。为了获得成功,每位员工都必须有这种心态。

    我逐渐意识到埃德正在创造一种公司文化,尽管我们当时还未采用这种说法。置身硅谷的我们时常淹没在各种"新新"方式之中,我们常常忘记了,我们只是在重新发现一些可追溯至涉及商业根本的朴素教训。

    不管你喜欢与否,每个人都在看领导的所作所为。他做什么事?说什么话?不说什么话?他如何反应?他的行为被组织上下模仿,放大。CEO和领导层最终是用其行为,而不是人力资源部推出的一系列政策,塑造出公司文化。受埃德的启发,我在这里列举几条我相信会让所有初创企业CEO受益的经验:

    •时常自然、安静地展示出这样的态度,没有你不能做的琐事:吃完工作餐之后打扫会议室,亲自携带笨重的展品去参加贸易展览,替换水冷器,擦拭溢水。当每个人都变得更勤快了,你就可以节省5%的开销。

    •做好自己的日程安排,雇佣助理的时间拖得越长越好。因为一旦你这么做,突然之间,每个人似乎都需要一位助理。如果每个人都能做好自身的日程安排,一位优秀的办公室经理人所管理的员工数量可上升至50位。

    •撰写详尽、周到且坦诚的复审报告,并按时完成。如果你不认真对待复审工作,没有人会把它当回事。

    •记住所有人的名字,并尝试着了解他们——如果员工数量在500人以下,没有理由不这么做。对我来说,这一点的确很难,因为我的记性很差,一直都很差。办法总是人想出来的:当初我接手思科公司(Cisco)的900名员工的时候,我们根据徽章数据库的资料印制了许多抽认卡。

    • 提前准备,竭力做好员工的面试工作——不要即兴表演。

    • 行事节俭时要引人注目:坐二等舱,住廉价酒店,在食堂就餐。

    •反应要快到令人难以置信,要随时可联络到,要准时。

    上述建议仅仅是针对如何让CEO变得更加平易近人而言。平易近人是领导最难能可贵,也是最重要的特质之一。员工是否可以很轻松地表达与领导相左的意见?出现某种差错时,他们是否会如实相告?依我的经验看,CEO和领导层的行事风格越正规,他们就变得越难以接触。这跟是否穿牛仔裤无关——而跟行为举止有关。我叔叔店铺的氛围是非常正式的:他系着一条领带,每个人都称呼他"卡林先生"。尽管如此,他还是能以极其友善的态度,对每个人的了解程度,以及事必躬亲的行动意愿,克服了这种外在的正式感。无论你采用何种方式创造出这种"可接近性",它绝对有助于你创造一个让员工畅所欲言,挑战现状,充满创新气息的工作氛围。

    斯科特•韦斯是公司安德森霍洛维茨(AndreessenHorowitz)的普通合伙人。他曾参与创建IronPort系统公司,并担任CEO一职,该公司于2007年被思科公司收购。

    译者:任文科

    In 1950, my uncle Ed Kalin opened a small designer furniture store. After years of hard work, he saved up and opened a larger one. Growing up working there, I'd observed him doing things that, at first, were hard for me to understand.

    First of all, when he walked around the store, he was constantly picking up trash. Little wrappers, paperclips, cigarette butts and the squashed paper cup that didn't quite hit the trash can. When I first noticed it, I thought he was trying to drive home a point to me personally -- after all, I was the assistant janitor -- but it became clear he wasn't just picking up trash in front of me, he did it all the time, naturally and quietly. You never heard him say, "Can't they make it into the wastebasket?" He just picked it up and put it in. He was also always straightening: fluffing pillows, righting picture frames, sliding back bar stools and getting down on his knees to level a rickety table.

    One day, the intercom rang out in the back of the warehouse, "Scott Weiss, to the front for a carry out." Recalling my work ethic in junior high school, I certainly didn't sprint to get there; I arrived just in time to see my uncle following a lady out with an end table in his hands. "Doh!" He never mentioned it -- he just did it.

    Although this was a high-end furniture store, uncle Ed was also unusually thrifty. He didn't cut corners on quality but abhorred waste. "Scott, you don't need to use that much bubble wrap for a lamp. Here, let me show you." At home, he would set paper towels on the counter to dry after washing his hands: "They're not dirty, just wet." OK, thrifty was an understatement.

    There were 80 employees at the furniture store and Ed knew every one of them by name. He knew their families. And whenever he passed anyone, anywhere, he'd have an authentic interaction with them -- not a glad-handling schmooze. "When does your son graduate?" "How were you able to fix that scratch? Wow, looks perfect." Always with a smile and interested eyes that communicated, "You matter to me."

    In a competitive, low-margin, high-hustle retail business, Ed wanted to project Bloomingdale's with a Wal-Mart (WMT) budget. The showroom had to be beautiful, spotless—just perfect to look the part. Customer service was paramount. In order to be successful, every employee had to have this mentality.

    Although we didn't call it that then, I've come to believe that Ed was creating a company culture. We often get wrapped up in Silicon Valley with the "new-new" way that we can forget many times we're simply rediscovering well-worn lessons that date back to the beginnings of commerce.

    Like it or not, everyone watches the leader. What does he do? What does he say? What does he not say? How does he react? His behavior is mimicked and amplified throughout the organization. The CEO and the leadership team ultimately set the company culture with their behaviors versus a set of policies rolled out by the HR department. Inspired by Ed, here are a few takeaways that I believe apply to all startup CEOs:

    • Naturally and quietly demonstrate, on a regular basis, that no chore is beneath you: clean up after a conference room lunch, carry the heavy crap to a trade show, replace the water cooler, wipe up the spill. When everyone pitches in a little, you can strip out 5% in overhead.

    • Do your own calendaring and wait as long as possible to hire an assistant because once you do, everybody suddenly needs one. One great office manager can scale to 50 employees if everyone calendars themselves.

    • Write thorough, thoughtful, candid reviews and be on time with the process. If you don't take it seriously, nobody will.

    • Get to know everyone by name and something about them -- no excuses up to 500 people. This was really hard for me because I have a terrible memory, always have. Get creative: we printed out flashcards from the badge database when I inherited 900 employees at Cisco (CSCO).

    • Prepare ahead and interview candidates hard -- don't wing it.

    • Be noticeably thrifty: fly coach, stay in cheap hotels, eat in diners.

    • Be unbelievably responsive, available and punctual.

    Some of the suggestions above are simply about making a CEO more approachable -- one of the hardest and most important attributes for a leader to exude. Are people comfortable disagreeing with him? Will they tell him when something is wrong? In my experience, the more formal the CEO is, the more formal the leadership team is and thus they all become less approachable. And it's not just about wearing jeans -- it's about behavior. My uncle's store was a very formal environment: he wore a tie and everyone addressed him as "Mr. Kalin." That said, he was able to overcome this outward formality with fanatic friendliness, a familiarity with everyone and a willingness to get his hands dirty. Approachability, however you create it, is absolutely critical to creating an innovation environment where employees speak up and challenge the status quo.

    Scott Weiss is a general partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. He is the former co-founder and CEO of IronPort Systems, which was acquired by Cisco in 2007.

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