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专访硅谷教母:我怎样把女儿培养成为卓越领导人

Michal Lev-Ram 2019年04月25日

要说这位母亲的秘诀是否奏效,她的三位强大的女儿便是很好的例子。

伊瑟·沃西基认为领导者是后天养成的,而不是天生就有的。图片来源:Courtesy of Esther Wojcicki
 
 

伊瑟·沃西基并没有一心要培养首席执行官,但她意识到,她希望自己的孩子和学生们所获得的教育能够与她当年获得的截然不同。这位硅谷最知名家族之一的、经验丰富的教育家和女家长说:“如果我不付诸行动,我会有挫败感。我父亲的理念是‘不打不成器’。”

沃西基在经历了多年的执教和子女养育之后,形成了其自身的观点。在帕洛阿尔托高中,加入其备受欢迎的媒体艺术课程的700多名青少年都称她为“沃奇”。她在其新书《如何培养成功人士:小案例,大影响》(How to Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results)中介绍了培养有效和道德领袖的秘诀。这个经过她实践验证的配方到底是什么?它们就是信任、尊重、独立、合作与善良,这些特质的首字母加起来便构成了朗朗上口的单词——TRICK。

要说这个方法是否奏效,沃西基的孩子们便是很好的例子。她的大女儿苏珊·沃西基是YouTube的首席执行官,二女儿珍妮·沃西基是加州大学旧金山分校的儿科教授,排行最小的安妮·沃西基是基因测试公司23andMe的创始人及首席执行官。这三位在书的序言中写道:“我们的父母教育我们要相信自己和自己做决策的能力。在我们记忆中,父母从未因为我们是孩子便忽视我们所提出的想法或观点。”

沃西基培养成功人士的指南还讲述了其不幸的童年(除了遭到其父亲的棍棒相加之外,她弟弟的死亡(因偶然吞食一把药片)也为其童年带来了很大的影响),以及依据TRICK的可执行要诀。例如,她在培养信任时的一个重要做法就是给孩子们一定的预算资金,让她们自己购买所需的物品。沃西基表示,财务知识技能的培养可以从小开始。她向女儿们展示了她们念小学时的一张复利图表,在成长的过程中,这三位姐妹销售了众多来自于其邻居院子里的柠檬,并因此获得了“柠檬女孩”的称号。

沃西基说,TRICK的理念对于雇主来说也是十分有价值的。她在书中指出,像全食超市的约翰·麦基这类因“雇员赋权”而闻名的首席执行官和其他领导者对她的方法十分感兴趣。她写道:“TRICK的最终目标是在一个有责任心的世界中打造有责任心的人。这是我们作为父母、教师和雇主所从事的工作,我们不能只是把孩子养大或管理教师和会议室,而是应该为人类的未来做铺垫工作。”

尽管沃西基的作品只是众多“培养成功”类书籍中的一本新作,但很少有人能够从母亲的角度来探讨这个领域。《财富》杂志在沃西基位于帕洛阿尔托的家中采访了这位78岁的母亲,讨论了如何培养领导者、最近的大学录取丑闻以及科技负面影响所带来的棘手问题。她说,最后一点是沃西基家里的一个热点话题,这倒是不足为奇,因为三个女儿中有两个都在经营曾经颇具争议的科技公司。以下是采访的节选。

《财富》:为什么写这本书,为什么在这个时候写?

伊瑟·沃西基:很多人都问我,我是怎么教育女儿和学生的。我想,如果大家真的想知道我的教育方法,那么通过写书会更有助于人们了解答案。我花了一生的时间搜集这个信息,而且我觉得我愿意与世界进行分享。这是我的遗赠,我正在尝试让人们了解赋予子女学习自主权的力量。

雇主能从TRICK中学到什么?

如果你以同样的方式对待雇员,如果你相信他们并为他们提供表现的机会,那么他们就会相信自己。这真的是很疯狂,但当有人相信你时,你就更愿意冒风险,而且变得更有创造力。

试想一下,如果你的老板并不怎么看好你,你唯一能够做的就是按其指示办事。那么这有什么创意可言?所有的雇主都希望其员工既要有创意,也要愿意冒险,但所有从大学毕业的员工在接受培训时都被告诫不要冒险,而且要服从指示。如果你不服从,就拿不到好学分。我们打造了一个服从规则的民族,一整个国家的绵羊。

仅以谷歌(YouTube的母公司)为例,他们主要做的事情就是为员工提供某种程度的自由,例如,如果你希望从事一个20%的项目(这个政策允许雇员把自已的20%的时间用于从事任何他们希望做的事情),你有权这么做。事实证明,谷歌是全球最有创造力的一家公司。

大学录取丑闻透露了教育和父母教育的哪些现状?

学生们不够专注,而且他们的父母——全国上下都是“铲雪机”式的父母,他们为孩子们扫清了障碍,而且为学生们聘请其实是帮助学生作弊的辅导老师。这些父母为了让孩子通过考试真是使出了洪荒之力,但这些考试与现实世界却毫不相干。职场并非是一系列测试,而是一系列项目和人与人之间的合作。我们并没有给学生们提供正确的教育。商界一直在抱怨,公司难以获得训练有素的学生。但他们需要意识到,他们不应该使用SAT来作为衡量雇员好坏的标准。

Esther Wojcicki didn’t set out to raise CEOs. But she knew she wanted her children—and students—to have an upbringing vastly different from the one she had endured. “If I didn’t behave, I was beaten,” says the longtime educator and matriarch of one of the most well-known families in Silicon Valley. “My father’s philosophy was ‘Spare the rod, spoil the child.’ ”

Wojcicki, or “Woj,” as she’s known to the 700 teenagers enrolled in her popular Media Arts Program at Palo Alto High School, came up with her own philosophy after many years of teaching and parenting. She lays out the secrets to cultivating effective and ethical leaders in a new book, How to Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results. Her tried-and-tested formula? It all boils down to TRICK, a catchy acronym that stands for trust, respect, independence, collaboration, and kindness.

If Wojcicki’s offspring are any indication, her method works. Her firstborn, Susan Wojcicki, is the CEO of YouTube. Janet Wojcicki is a professor of pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco. And Anne Wojcicki, the baby of the family, is the founder and CEO of genetic testing company 23andMe. “Our parents taught us to believe in ourselves and our ability to make decisions,” the three write in the book’s foreword. “We don’t remember ever having our ideas or thoughts dismissed because we were children.”

Wojcicki’s guide to raising successful people weaves together stories of her own harsh childhood (in addition to being beaten by her father, she says, her formative years were defined by the loss of her baby brother, who died after accidentally swallowing a handful of pills) with actionable takeaways based on TRICK. One of her keys to instilling trust, for example, is to give teenagers a budget and let them shop for needed items on their own. Financial literacy skills can be taught early on, says Wojcicki. She showed her daughters a compound interest chart when they were still in grade school, and growing up, the three sisters sold so many lemons from their neighbor’s yard that they became known as the “lemon girls.”

The TRICK philosophy can be of value to employers too, says Wojcicki. In her book, she notes that CEOs like John Mackey of Whole Foods and other leaders known for “employee empowerment” are interested in her methods. “The ultimate goal of TRICK is creating self-responsible people in a self-responsible world,” she writes. “This is what we’re doing as parents, teachers, and employers—not just raising children or managing classrooms and boardrooms, but building the foundation of the future of humankind.”

While Wojcicki’s book may be the latest in a long list of literature focused on fostering success, rarely does this genre get written from the perspective of a mother. Fortune caught up with the 78-year-old matriarch in her Palo Alto home, where she sat surrounded by family photos, to talk about raising leaders, the recent college admissions scandal, and the thorny issue of technology’s dark side. That last point is a hot topic in the Wojcicki family, she says—no surprise given that two of her three daughters run sometimes-controversial tech companies. An edited transcript of the interview follows.

Fortune: Why did you write the book and why now?

Esther Wojcicki: So many people were asking me what I did with my daughters and what I did with my students. I thought, Well, if everyone really wants to know how I did it, perhaps it would be easier if I just wrote a book. I’ve spent a lifetime collecting this information, and I thought I would share it with the world. This is my legacy—I’m trying to make sure that people understand the power of giving children control of their learning.

What can employers learn from TRICK?

If you treat employees the same way, if you believe in them and give them an opportunity to perform, then they believe in themselves. It is really crazy, but when someone believes in you, you’re willing to take more risks and willing to be more creative.

Just imagine if you have an employer who thinks poorly of you; the only way you’re going to be able to perform is by following their directions exactly. And where is the creativity in that? All these employers want people who are creative and willing to take a risk, and all the people coming out of college are trained not to take a risk. They’re trained to follow instructions. If you don’t follow instructions, you don’t get a good grade. We’re producing a nation of rule followers—a nation of sheep.

If you just look at Google [parent company of YouTube], the main thing they do is give their employees a sense of freedom by saying, if you want to work on a 20% project [a policy allowing employees to devote themselves to whatever they want for 20% of the time], you have the right to do that. Google turned out to be one of the most creative companies on the planet.

What does the college admissions scandal say about the state of education and parenting?

Students are not engaged enough, and their parents—who are a nation of “snowplow parents”—are clearing the way and giving students tutors who basically cheat for them. The parents were all going crazy trying to get kids to pass tests that are completely irrelevant to the real world. The work world is not a series of tests. The work world is a series of projects and people collaborating together. We are not training students the right way. The business world is complaining that they aren’t getting students who are properly prepared. But they need to realize that they should not use the SAT as a gauge for what makes a good employee.

图片来源:Courtesy of Esther Wojcicki
 

在TRICK的五大原则中,那一项对于雇主来说是最难实施的?

信任。雇主并不相信员工,因此他们设立了很多机制来确保雇员在从事他们应该做的事情。我能理解为什么信任会如此困难,是因为有的雇员并没有做到这一点。但我会建议解释公司的文化,并讨论如何给予员工更多的信任和尊重,以及你希望人们如何尊重这种规定。如果雇员做不到,那么你就必须改变这些规则。但我认为,大多数人在工作中都非常敬业。最难做到的第二件事情是善良。

为什么善良会如此困难?

因为在英语中没有一个词语用来表述当得知他人成功后自己的愉悦感。我们不仅没有这个单词,而且连这个概念都没有。当你在脑子中有一个赚钱的概念,但某些人又无法满足你的期许时,赚钱动机将成为最重要的事情,善良也就随之消失了 。

如何定义成功?

我会将成功定义为有地方居住,有一份工作,有一定的激情,有饭吃,而且有人际关系。最重要的是积极的人际关系。这便是我目前所认为的成功。所处的社区异常重要。就美国而言,社区在如今比以往更弥足珍贵。

科技能否帮助或阻碍TRICK价值的实施?

科技是好东西,因为它能够为孩子们赋权,让他们有机会独立查找信息。缺点在于它会传播不正确的行为。问题在于,我们如何进行规范。难道要隐藏[信息]?例如高中的自杀,有数据显示,如果人们报道自杀并进行探讨,那么在此之后自杀行为将会出现高涨。我们应该做的一件事情是提高媒体的素养和媒体的受教育水平:如何道德地使用手机,如何使用科技来搜集信息。我们如今的唯一做法就是没收孩子的手机,这是很可笑的。他们没有吸取任何教训;他们只是学到了手机就是禁果。(财富中文网)

本文另一版本登载于《财富》杂志2019年5月刊,题目为《培养超级女性》。

译者:冯丰

审校:夏林

Of the five TRICK principles, which is the hardest for employers to implement?

Trust. Employers don’t trust their employees, so they have a lot of mechanisms to make sure employees are actually doing the work that they’re supposed to do. I can understand why it’s hard because there are people out there who don’t do what they’re supposed to do. But I would suggest explaining the culture of the company and talking about how you’re giving people more trust and respect, and how you’re expecting people to honor that. If there are violations, then you do have to change the rules. But I would say that most people work really hard. The second hardest is kindness.

Why is kindness so hard?

Because we don’t have a word in the English language that expresses happiness when other people succeed—that we don’t have the word shows that we don’t even have the concept. When you have a profit motive in mind and somebody doesn’t meet your expectations, that profit motive becomes the most important thing, and kindness disappears.

How do you define success?

I would define success as people who have a place to live, a job, a passion of some kind, food to eat, and relationships. No. 1 is positive relationships. That is success as far as I’m concerned. The community is so important. In America we need that today more than ever.

Does technology help or hinder the implementation of TRICK values?

Technology is good because it empowers kids; it gives them the opportunity to find information themselves. The downside is we spread misbehavior. The question is how do we regulate that. Do we want to hide [information]? Suicides in high schools—if you cover the suicide and talk about it, statistics [show] there’s an upsurge of suicides that happen after. One thing we should do is promote media literacy and media education: how to use your phone ethically, how to use technology for information. The only thing we do now is confiscate kids’ phones, which is ridiculous. They don’t learn anything; they just learn that the phone is forbidden fruit.

A version of this article appears in the May 2019 issue of Fortune with the headline “Raising Superwomen.”

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