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维珍老板理查德•布兰森的管理经

Laura Entis 2016年05月01日

理查德•布兰森的创业源动力来自哪里?他说道:“我在很早的时候就知道,商业很简单,就是想出一个点子,让人们的生活变得更好。有些最优秀的公司之所以诞生,正是因为创业者最初对其他人对待自己的方式感到不满。”

理查德•布兰森非常幸运。如今,这位维珍集团(Virgin Group)的创始人到处环游世界,在他名下的无数房产和酒店物业中,管理着数十亿美元的商业帝国。

本周二,在纽约市举行的翠贝卡电影节(Tribeca Film Festival)的“想象日”上,布兰森在台上说道:“我一直很幸运。”

这一点毋庸置疑。但好运不会从天而降。布兰森将自己商业上的成功归功于天生的“管它呢,我们干吧!”这样的态度,他曾表示:“我最害怕的是对某件事情说‘不’。”但仅靠无畏不可能打造出一个全球品牌。

多数人都能够承担风险。而布兰森之所以成为创业领域的典型代表,是因为他能不断尝试,并且不论成功还是失败,他都能从这些经历中总结出经验教训,用于下一次冒险。

到目前为止,他的创业源动力来自哪里?他说道:“我在很早的时候就知道,商业很简单,就是想出一个点子,让人们的生活变得更好。有些最优秀的公司之所以诞生,正是因为创业者最初对其他人对待自己的方式感到不满。”众所周知,1984年,布兰森一时兴起创立了维珍大西洋航空公司(Virgin Atlantic)。当时英国航空公司(British Airways)取消了布兰森飞往英属维尔京群岛的航班,于是他自己租了一架飞机,载着同样不满的乘客飞往目的地。他说道:“后面的故事大家都知道了。”

布兰森主要谈到了对生活和职业的一些感悟,不过他也分享了自己所收获的一些具体的经验。他认为创业者和商界领袖应该做到下面几件事,并阐述了他的理由:

旅行。布兰森表示,特别是对于年轻创业者来说,访问其他国家和体验不同的生活方式非常重要。“去看看法国正在发生什么,再去看看英国,看看中国。”即使没有其他收获,接触到解决日常问题的不同策略,也可能给创业者带来灵感和启发。“如果你自己想不出好的点子,你会发现在别处还有其他好点子。”

记笔记。史蒂夫•乔布斯的遗产,令一种利用弱点的领导方式大行其道,但布兰森却采取了相反的领导方式。他认为,为了“最大程度挖掘出人们的潜力”,领导者要“表扬而不是批评”。同样,他眼中的领导力基于多听少说的能力。

而在实践中,这意味着记笔记。因为,至少在这方面,布兰森是一位现实主义者:“如果你不将事情落在纸面上,你如何能记住别人告诉你的话?恐怕连一半也记不住。”

内部招聘。从外部聘用公司首席执行官,确实有一些好处,这是不可否认的。外部聘用的人选可以带来新鲜的视角,可以推动必要的改革,这也解释了为什么越来越多的大型上市公司正在采取这种做法。

但布兰森却在尽量避免这样做。他说道:“我们很少从外部招聘。”从公司现有的人才库中进行挑选,确实可能让你错过某些选择,但这样做也意味着你永远不会招聘到有着未能预见的明显缺陷的人。或许更重要的是,从内部招聘可以鼓舞士气。

“如果你从内部招聘,整个公司都会感到高兴;因为这意味着他们未来也有机会进入公司的高层。”

允许员工在家里办公。2013年,雅虎(Yahoo)取消在家办公政策引起了广泛争议,雅虎的理由是要求员工每天到公司工作,可以提高生产效率和员工敬业度。虽然这一策略的优劣仍在争论当中,但有一件事是可以肯定的:在这个问题上,布兰森的立场与雅虎截然相反。

除了现有的在家办公政策之外,2014年,维珍集团又颁布了无限制休假政策。这些政策的目的是提供“充分的灵活性”,尤其是为初为父母的员工。

对于灵活的上班时间的重要性,布兰森有着切身体会。在他的职业生涯当中,他的政策一直都是尽可能在家办公(或者更准确的说,是在各地的家里办公)。通过在家办公,“我亲眼见证了我的孩子们从在我脚边爬来爬去,到长大成人。”他曾经一边开会一边给孩子换尿布,他也希望员工有足够的自由像他一样。(财富中文网)

译者:刘进龙/汪皓

Richard Branson leads a charmed life. Today, the founder of the Virgin Group travels the globe, running his multibillion-dollar empire from his numerous homes and hotel properties.

“I’ve been fortunate,” Branson said onstage Tuesdayat the Tribeca Film Festival’s Imagination Day inNew York City.

Undeniably. But this good fortune didn’t happen by accident. While Branson credits his business success to an innate “screw it, let’s do it” attitude — “my greatest fear,” he said, “is saying ‘no’ to something” — recklessness alone doesn’t build a global brand.

Most people can take risks. What’s made Branson the bonafide face of entrepreneurship is the ability to try something and, whether it’s a success (as with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Records) or failure (Virgin Cola), dissect the experience for lessons to use in his next venture.

Thethrough line so far? “I learned very early on in life that business is simply coming up with an idea that makes other people’s lives better,” he said. “Some of the best businesses come out of initial frustration with the way other people are dealing with you.” Virgin Atlantic was famously born on a whim back in 1984. When British Airways cancelled Branson’s flight to the British Virgin Islands, he rented a plane to fly there himself, filling it up with fellow disgruntled passengers. “The rest,” he said, “is history.”

While Branson dedicated most of his conversation to general reflections on life and career, he also shared a few concrete pointers he’s picked up along the way. Here’s his case for why entrepreneurs and business leaders should:

Travel. Particularly for young entrepreneurs, it’s important to visit other countries and experience other ways of life, Branson said. “See what’s happening in France, see what’s happening in England, see what’s happening in China.” If nothing else, the exposure to different strategies to everyday problems may get the creative juices flowing. “If you can’t come up with a great idea yourself, you’ll find there are other great ideas out there.”

Take notes. Steve Jobs’ legacy may have popularized a style of leadership based on the manipulation of weaknesses, but Branson takes the opposite approach. For him, a leader is someone “who will praise and not criticize” in order to “draw out the best in people.” Along the same lines, his version of leadership is based on the ability listen more than they talk.

On a practical level, this means taking notes. Because in this regard at least, Branson is a realist: “If you don’t write things down, how are you going to remember half the things the person told you?”

Hire from within. There are undeniable benefits to hiring an outside candidate as chief executive of a company. An external hire often comes with fresh perspectives and the ability to drive needed change, which helps explain why the practice at large public companies is on the rise.

Still, Branson tries to avoid it whenever possible. “We don’t often go outside,” he says. Yes, selecting from a company’s existing talent pool means that some boxes remain unchecked, but it also means you’re never exposed to a candidate with glaring, unforeseen weaknesses. Perhaps more importantly, it’s a morale play.

“The whole company will be pleased that you employ from within; they all have the chance to one day get the top job.”

Let employees work from home. When Yahoo controversially scrapped its work from home policy in 2013, it argued that requiring employees to come into the office each day would boost productivity and engagement. While the merits of this strategy are still up for debate, one thing is clear: Branson is on the opposite side of the issue.

On top of its existing work from home policy, in 2014 the Virgin Group adopted an unlimited leave policy. The overall aim is to provide “lots and lots of flexibility,” particularly for new parents.

Branson knows the importance of flexible schedules firsthand. Throughout his career, his policy has been to work from home — or homes, more accurately — whenever possible. By doing so, “the kids have literally grown up crawling at my feet.” He’s taken meetings while changing a nappy, and wants his employees to have the freedom to do the same.

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