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博斯公司CEO:后金融危机时代的发展之道

Cesare Mainardi 2014年03月25日

不少公司经受住了金融危机的严峻考验,成功地生存了下来。现在,经济已经开始复苏,如何重新走上长期的可续发展之路,跻身苹果、宜家、海尔、丰田这样长期立于不败之地、具备超强竞争力的公司行列?关键在于解决好5大关键问题。

    随着经济不确定性的迷雾最终散去,许多公司都到达了关键的转折点。不幸的是,为了在这次经济大衰退中生存下来,太多太多的董事会都出了下策。这些公司削减了成本,也裁减了人员。新人手和新设备投资变得断断续续,甚至荡然无存。“灵活策略”和“动态弹性”成了新的热门词汇,人们把它们解释为:把策略抛诸脑后,同时采取任何你觉得有希望奏效的办法。

    任何种类的经济、政治或企业危机都有亟待解决的燃眉之急,抑制这种冲动难上加难。然而,实际情况是,面向短期的管理从来都不能成就大事。而且这种行为已经让许多公司陷入了困境。它们在危机中生存了下来,但它们没有了推动长期增长的空间或者资源。我们对全球近4000名公司高管的最新调查表明,他们中间有60%的人不相信自己的经营策略真的能取得成功。这样的信心匮乏程度让人吃惊——难怪过去几年的表现像坐了过山车一样。

    那么,现在该怎么办呢?有一点很确定——人们经常谈到的灵活性并不是答案。成功不是迅速采取行动,而是从策略上决定前进的方向。这样就能在一片混乱的市场中成为赢家。一些传奇性的公司,比如苹果公司(Apple)、美国制造商Danaher公司、宜家(Ikea)、海尔(Haier)、巴西化妆品生产商Natura和丰田汽车公司(Toyota),无论在什么情况下它们似乎都能立于不败之地。我们的研究发现,所有这些具备超级竞争力的企业一直致力于五个方面的工作。下面就是实现持久“优质增长”的诀窍:

    坚持自我,抑制跟随别人的冲动

    让公司变得真正伟大的事物都有一个缓慢的建立过程,无法一蹴而就。如果可以,它们也就不会具有非常大的价值,因为任何人都能复制。最有能力的公司知道自己是谁,也知道市场中有哪些事只有自己才有资格去做。它们清晰地诠释自己怎样给顾客带来增加值,而且用自己的特性来推动长期的增长。看看沃尔玛(Wal-Mart)在打造一条成功的供应链时对下面四个问题的关注:积极管理供应商,以便保持低价;分析店铺层面的销售数据,以便掌握哪些商品畅销,哪些商品不畅销及其所在地区;通过卓越的物流完美地把商品运进店铺;严格的运营资金管理。接下来,沃尔玛遇到的“问题”是收入在2500亿美元封了顶。为了解决这个问题,他们重新审视了那些自己已经做得很好的工作,也就是他们出色的供应链能力,看看还能怎样对这些工作进行改进。举例来说,他们通过分析发现,靠近淡水水域的店铺售出的商品和靠近盐水水域的店铺有相当大的差别。因此,他们改变了货架上的商品搭配,以适应这些地区的情况。像这样高明而有的放矢的调整让沃尔玛的收入超过了4000亿美元。

    不要等顾客告诉你他们想要什么——要主动对他们施加影响

    不要等到顾客说出他们想要或者需要什么以后才迅速做出反应,靠这种方式来实现增长。相反,要改变游戏规则。要走在前面,影响人们的欲望,重新定义顾客的需要,进而前瞻性地创造需求。想一想宜家是如何出色地完成了这方面的工作——它把注意力集中在怎样提高人们的生活质量,最终在全球范围内为自己具有斯堪的纳维亚风格的平价设计创造出了需求。宜家坚持让管理人员到人们的家中拜访,目的是了解人们在家里的生活,了解他们面临着哪些问题,遇到了什么样的挫折(比如大多数人的电视和DVD机旁边乱作一团的电线)。宜家创始人英瓦尔•坎普拉德还有一点很出名,那就是他在宜家商场里用大量时间来问顾客:“今天我们给你带来了怎样的失望情绪?”和其他几家公司一样,这种接触顾客的专门渠道使得宜家能左右顾客的期望,重新定义他们的需求。

    

    As the fog of economic uncertainty is finally lifting, many companies are approaching a critical turning point. Unfortunately, the fight to survive the Great Recession brought out the worst in far too many boardrooms. Companies slashed costs and cut head count. Investments in new employees and equipment slowed to a trickle or stopped altogether. "Agile strategy" and "dynamic resilience" became the new buzzwords, and they were code for: Throw out your strategy and chase whatever you think might work.

    In any kind of economic, political, or corporate crisis, it's doubly difficult to resist the urge to fight fires. But the reality is that managing for the short-term never breeds greatness. And doing so has left a lot of companies in a tough spot. They survived the crisis, but they don't have the headroom or resources to fuel long-term growth. Our most recent global survey of almost 4,000 executives found that 60% don't believe their own business strategy will actually succeed. That's an astounding lack of confidence—no doubt colored by the roller-coaster ride of the past several years.

    So what now? One thing is certain—the much-talked-about agility is not the answer. Succeeding is not moving rapidly. It's strategically deciding where to move. That's how you win in a chaotic market. And there are some legendary companies—Apple (AAPL), Danaher (DHR), Ikea, Haier, Natura, and Toyota (TM) —that seem to win no matter what. Our research found that all of these super-competitors consistently made five particular choices. Here's a formula to fuel "good growth" that lasts:

    Stay true to who you are and resist the urge to chase others

    The things that make companies truly great are slow to develop; they can't be built overnight. If they could, they wouldn't be worth very much, because anyone could copy them. The most capable companies know who they are and understand the job they are uniquely qualified to do in the market. They clearly define how they add value to their customers and use their identity to drive growth over the long-term. Look at how Wal-Mart (WMT) built a winning supply chain focused on four things: Aggressively managing vendors to keep prices low; analyzing sales data at the store level to understand what sells, what doesn't and where; superior logistics to get products to the stores seamlessly; and rigorous working-capital management. The company then faced the "problem" of maxing out at $250 billion in revenue. To fix it, they took a fresh look at what they already did well—their superior supply chain capability—and how they could refine it. For example, their analytics found that the items that sold at stores near freshwater were quite different than what sold at stores near saltwater. So they changed the assortment of products on the shelves to suit these geographies. Smart and targeted changes like these helped them grow revenues to more than $400 billion.

    Don't wait for customers to tell you what they want—influence them

    Instead of chasing growth by responding rapidly to what consumers say they want or need, change the game. Proactively create demand by getting out in front, shaping the wants and redefining the needs of your customers. Think about how brilliantly Ikea does this by focusing on how to make a better life for people, ultimately creating global demand for its affordable Scandinavian design. Ikea insists on managers conducting home visits to understand how people live at home, what challenges they're facing, and what frustrates them (like the tangles of wires that surround most people's TVs and DVD players). Their founder, Ingvar Kamprad, is also famous for having spent a lot of time in the store asking customers "how did we disappoint you today?" This privileged access to customers allows Ikea, like few other companies, to shape what their customers want and to redefine their needs.

    

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