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管理

IMF启示录:临危任命的学问

Shelley DuBois 2011年07月13日

拉加德是不是接管IMF的最佳人选?这个问题并不重要。目前状况下,对IMF来说,她是一个很好的选择,这也是危机雇佣的关键要素。

    在危机中招募新任领导人的第一条原则:不要让危机愈演愈烈。

    周二,克里斯丁•拉加德当选国际货币基金组织(International Monetary Fund)新一任总裁,接替5月18日辞职的多米尼克•斯特劳斯•卡恩。卡恩因涉嫌在美国纽约的酒店中性侵犯一位女服务生而面临指控。

    如果等到斯特劳斯•卡恩的任期结束,拉加德是否仍然是该职位的最佳人选?这个问题完全不重要,重要的是:眼下,她确实是合适的人选。

    莱维克战略沟通公司(Levick Strategic Communications)高级副总裁兼危机与诉讼事务部总监吉尼•格拉博夫斯基表示,在危机情况下,“有时候,公司不得不作出妥协——他们需要选择特定的候选人以示对特定利益的让步。”

    尽管任命拉加德不见得是一种妥协,但依然理由可以说明,她为什么符合IMF当前的要求。

    首先,IMF如果想任命首位女性总裁,这是最佳时机。格拉博夫斯基表示:“此次任命向外界传递了一个信息,即IMF并不是一个仅仅由男性主导的俱乐部;同时,IMF也已经意识到斯特劳斯•卡恩诉讼事件的严重性。”

    其次,IMF没必要为选择接班人一事大动干戈。从内部选择一位新总裁,通过较小幅度的调整就能为组织带来积极变化,这是IMF可以承受的。IMF也不需要进行彻底改革,因为此次危机仅限于管理团队的一名成员而已。

    当然,情况并不总是如此。

    比如,去年八月份,马克•赫德便是在一次较为严重的管理层危机中辞去惠普公司(Hewlett-Packard)CEO职位的。当时马克•赫德面临的性骚扰指控使公司董事会产生分裂,并引起了股东的不安。惠普公司迫切需要输入新鲜血液,重新稳定局面。

    格拉博夫斯基表示,拉加德接管IMF与当年杰拉尔德•福特在理查德•尼克松被弹劾后接任美国总统一事异曲同工。“许多人推测,福特并不是总统的完美人选。”但美国公众普遍认为他足够诚实。“他可以当一名管家,而不是变革的推动者;这样的角色正适合他来出演。”

    拉加德的角色也非常类似,因为IMF并不需要进行重组。但是,它确实需要一位领袖,摆脱斯特劳斯•卡恩所带来的寡廉鲜耻的形象。

    不论卡恩曾带领IMF获得过怎样的成功,他这次的行为都令人不齿;并且,对于身处危机中的IMF来说,这是非常危险的。事实上,在上个月此次指控浮出水面之前,卡恩便一直因为拈花惹草而臭名昭著。

    当然,总统继任的程序与IMF执行委员会选择拉加德的程序并不相同,而IMF的程序与惠普选择下一任CEO的程序也存在差别。但是,这三件事均为危机中的无奈之举,这是它们的相同之处。

    除了“管家”的职务之外,在危机中接过重担的管理者,还需要理解数字化时代对领导力的要求。在过去,对于才干超群的优秀领导人,他们的越轨行为通常会得到宽恕。但现在已经截然不同。当下,公众有足够多的渠道了解管理者的公共和私人生活。

    格拉博夫斯基表示:“实际上,在这个透明的时代,只要愿意,任何人都能凭借互联网进入你的董事会会议室。”当然,卧室也一样可以照进不误。

    (翻译 刘进龙)

    The first rule of hiring a new leader during turmoil: do not make the crisis worse.

    Today, the International Monetary Fund selected Christine Lagarde as its next director to replace the disgraced Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned on May 18 amid accusations that he sexually assaulted a maid in a New York hotel.

    It doesn't really matter whether Lagarde would be the best choice for the position had Strauss-Kahn's term come to a natural end: she's a good choice for right now.

    In a crisis, "Sometimes you're going to have to compromise -- you're going to choose the candidate as a concession to certain interests," says Gene Grabowski, senior vice president and chair of the crisis and litigation practice at Levick Strategic Communications.

    While Lagarde's appointment is not necessarily a concession, there are several reasons why she fits the bill.

    For one, there's no better time for the IMF to hire its first female director. Grabowski says: "It sends a message that the organization isn't just an old boy's club and is aware of the seriousness of the charges against Strauss-Kahn."

    Secondly, the IMF does not need to rock the boat too much. The organization can afford to hire someone internally who will spur positive but minor changes. It doesn't need an overhaul because this particular crisis was isolated to one member of the management team.

    That's not always the case.

    For example, Mark Hurd's resignation from his position as CEO of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) last August happened in the midst of a larger management problem. The sexual harassment charges filed against Mark Hurd split the company's board and unsettled its shareholders. HP needed fresh blood to make things run smoothly again.

    But Lagarde taking over the IMF is comparable to when Gerald Ford stepped up after Richard Nixon was impeached, says Grabowski: "Ford, by most people's estimation, was not the perfect president," but he was perceived as honest. "That was his role, to be a steward, not a change agent."

    Lagarde's role is similar, in that the IMF doesn't need to restructure. It does, however, need a leader to represent a shift away from the kind of moral carelessness Strauss-Kahn had come to portray.

    Regardless of his success at leading the IMF, his behavior (he had been known as a notorious womanizer even before the charges surfaced last month) was off-putting at best and dangerous to the organization during times of crisis, like now.

    To be sure, the presidential succession process is different from the process that went into the IMF executive board's selection of Lagarde, which is, in turn, different from the way a company like HP chooses its next CEO. But it's the unique qualities of a crisis that unify them

    Along with stewardship, managers entering under crisis conditions must also understand the demands of leadership in the digital age. In the past, personal transgressions were forgivable for exceptionally talented leaders. That's not the case anymore and the public has significant access to managers' public and private lives.

    Grabowski says: "In this age of transparency and Internet empowerment, virtually anybody who wants to be can be in your board room." And in your bedroom, apparently.

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