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篮球场上的商业经

Sharon Napier 2011年06月21日

不管计分规则如何,最高效的领导者都应该保持敏捷的思维,审时度势,当机立断,做出正确的决策。

    一直以来,不管是作为球员、教练,还是球迷,我都对篮球充满了热情。

    今年的NBA总决赛让我开始思考,我这一生在事业和个人生活方面获得了哪些成就?而篮球又是如何直接影响到了我的成功?

    每一分、每一个篮板、每一次胜利和失败(抱歉,勒布朗)都和我们日常工作中遇到的挑战颇为相似,这些对我们的团队合作也很重要。虽然我已有很长时间没有参加过比赛,但篮球鞋摩擦地板发出的声响和观众们的呐喊声仍然不时在我耳边萦绕。

    我成长于一个意大利大家庭,是五个孩子中最小的那个,从小就是孩子团的一员。我父亲经常开玩笑说他拥有一支完美的篮球队围坐在家里的餐桌旁。我14岁首次代表校队参赛,当时就已知晓团队合作的意义,而此时其它女孩还在学习这一概念【感谢教育法修正案第九条(Title IX),那是我们中的很多人第一次参加有组织的比赛】。

    那年我们缺少一名志愿者做教练,于是我赶紧去求助于我们的英语老师,不过他的经验当时只限于在教室里与学生们沟通。结果大大出乎我们的意料,他答应了。我的前任老师于是开辟了新的职业生涯——当教练,随后我们一同挺进了大学篮球赛场。我从篮球场上学到了不少重要经验教训,这是第一条:承担风险能带来巨大收益。

    作为一名女性高管,我遇到过很多机遇和挑战。我读了数不清的商业教案、获得过多个学位,也和许多精英们激烈交锋过。一路走来,我始终把精力放在记分板上。不管计分的项目是销售额、客户数还是产品数量,最高效的领导者应该在灵活评估、调整和做决策之时密切关注记分板的情况,无论是重大、艰巨的事件还是日常琐事都应如此,他们应该非常明确自己当时的所作所为哪些是对的、哪些又是必须的。

    曾多次进入吉姆•费伦年度最佳教练(Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year award)候选名单的杜克大学(Duke University)著名教头麦克•沙舍夫斯基表示:“我们必须要给予人们充分展示自我的自由……领导者必须要担负起提供这种自由的责任。”确实如此。作为一家不断成长的广告代理公司的首席执行官,我学会了如何做一个高效的领导者,如何创建一家成功企业。我从篮球场上学到的许多经验教训现在仍然在指导我。大家可以看看以下内容是否适用于自己:

    组建一支才华横溢的团队:这意味着要寻找有才干的年轻人加入公司,同时还要不忘第二梯队建设。我们一直在寻找热情洋溢、志同道合的人加入公司,他们认同我们的价值观,具备创造性解决问题的技能,促进公司蒸蒸日上。

    保持大局观:最好的运动员都具备大局观。他们不但知道自己的下一步行动,而且能在激烈的赛场上纵观全局。对于领导者而言,没有什么比这个更重要了。

    切忌循规蹈矩:在篮球比赛中,教练会为球员制定“固定战术”,而伟大的球员之所以出类拔萃就在于他们能够正确地把握时机,跳出既定的战术模式。商业领域同样如此。诚然,我们在起步时也许需要遵循自己确定的计划,但从长远发展而言,我们应该灵活而具有冒险精神。简而言之:我们要勇往直前。

    刻苦训练:作家马尔科姆•格拉德威尔在其著作《异类》(Outliers)中写道:“训练不是展示自己的拿手好戏,而是通过练习掌握一项拿手好戏。”训练意味着坚持不懈、反复尝试、不断努力地去达到更高水平。通常而言,一名优秀运动员所具备的最基本特征就是长期训练。

    训练已经深入我们的企业文化。我们训练自己的沟通技巧。我们每个月都会举办公司范围的会议。我们培训公司的管理层以增强其表达技巧。这些训练能让我们在竞争日益激烈的市场中随时保持警惕。

    听从教练指挥:虽然天赋能赢得比赛,但领导有方才能斩获冠军。我很早就学会信任我的教练,即使当时我并不能完全理解他们的决策。教练们能找到最好的方式将自己的灵感与球员们的真实表现合二为一。团队成员必须信任自己的教练,要相信经验和智慧一定能踏破艰难险阻。

    在篮球场上,团队合作、激情四射和专心致志是赢得胜利的不二法宝。除此之外,就是团队中的每个成员,无论是年轻的“新兵”,还是经验丰富的“老兵”,都必须厉兵秣马,随时准备奔赴赛场。

    作者莎朗•纳皮尔是Partners + Napier广告公司的首席执行官,也是全球战略领导力团队世界性工程(Project: WorldWide)的成员之一。

    

    译者:项航

    I've always been passionate about basketball -- as a player, a coach, and a fan. This year's NBA finals have led me to consider what I've achieved in my life, in both my work and my personal pursuits, and how my success can be traced straight back to the court.

    Each point, rebound, triumph and disappointment (sorry, Lebron) strikes a similarity to how we confront business challenges everyday and the importance of rooting for our teams. Although it's been a long time since I've played the game, the squeaking of sneakers and the roar of the crowd still ring loud in my mind.

    I grew up in a large Italian family, and as the youngest of five, I was always part of a team. My father used to joke that he had the perfect basketball team sitting around the dinner table. By the time I played my first varsity sport at age 14, I already knew the meaning of teamwork, while other girls were still learning the concept (thanks to Title IX, it was the first time many of us had ever played an organized sport).

    We lacked a volunteer coach one year, and I stepped up and asked our English teacher -- whose only experience was connecting with students in the classroom -- to lead us. Much to my surprise, he agreed. My former teacher ended up launching a whole new career for himself as a coach, and we moved on to college basketball together. This was the first of several important lessons I learned about business on the basketball court: Taking risks can pay off big time.

    As a female executive, I've had my share of challenges and opportunities. I've read countless business playbooks, gotten the degrees, and jabbed elbows with the big boys. Through it all, I kept my eye on the scoreboard. Whether points are calculated on sales, customers, or number of widgets produced, the most effective leaders keep their eyes on the scoreboard while being nimble enough to evaluate, adjust, and make decisions -- from the big, tough ones to the everyday ones -- with a strong sense of what is right, and what is needed in that moment.

    As a finalist (once again) for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year award, the famous coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke University said, "People have to be given the freedom to show the heart they possess…it's a leader's responsibility to provide that type of freedom." I know this to be true. As CEO of a growing advertising agency, I've learned a lot about what it takes to be an effective leader and build a successful company. Many of the lessons I learned on the basketball court still guide me today. See if they apply to your business:

    Build a talented team. This means prospecting for talented young recruits and simultaneously building the next tier. We continually seek passionate, like-minded people who share our values and provide the kind of creative problem-solving skills that make us a better agency.

    Maintain full court vision. The best players have full court vision. They have the ability to see not only the straight line to where they are going, but also the big picture in the heat of the game. For leaders, this could not be more important.

    Deviate from set plays. In basketball, players are given "set plays" by their coaches -- and great players are distinguished by their ability to know when to break away from them. This is true in business, too. Sure, we may start out with what we think is the right plan, but long-term growth requires flexibility and a willingness to take risks. More simply put: It takes guts.

    Practice daily. In his book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell wrote, "Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good." Practice means drills, repetition, and constant striving to perform at a higher level, and sometimes the character that is built in practice is what makes a player great.

    Practice is inherent in our agency culture. We exercise our communication skills. We conduct agency-wide meetings on a monthly basis. We train our agency leaders to enhance their presentation skills. These drills keep us on our toes when the competition gets tough.

    Listen to your coaches. Talent may win games, but good leadership wins championships. I learned early on to trust my coaches, even when I didn't fully understand their decisions. Coaches bring out the best in their players through a combination of inspiration and honest feedback. Teams must have faith in their coaches and trust that experience and intelligence guides the tough calls.

    As is the case in basketball, winning takes teamwork, passion, and focus. What's more, everyone on the team -- young recruits and seasoned players alike -- must come to the game fueled up and ready to play.

    Sharon Napier is CEO of Partners + Napier, and a member of the global strategic leadership team of Project: WorldWide.

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