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书评:贝尼奥夫营商之道

黎克腾(Clifton Leaf) 2019年12月04日

贝尼奥夫所展现出的领导智慧值得所有的企业家学习,也值得商学院收录作为授课内容。

图片来源:Courtesy of Penguin/Random House

2015年春天,Salesforce的两名高管登门拜访了公司的首席执行官马克·贝尼奥夫,向他汇报了一条令人不快的消息:他们怀疑,公司在薪酬方面存在性别歧视。贝尼奥夫对此感到既愤怒又惊讶。在他备受瞩目的新书《开拓者:商业力量是最大的变革平台》(Trailblazer: The Power of Business as the Greatest Platform for Change)中,贝尼奥夫写道:“我承认,当时内心很抵触这件事情。”该书由贝尼奥夫与《华尔街日报》(Wall Street Journal)的前作家莫妮卡·兰利合著。

贝尼奥夫是一位靠技术白手起家的亿万富翁,公司的业务是出售客户关系管理软件,虽然听起来平平无奇,但在当时他已经是举世闻名的慈善活动家。早在很久以前,他就制定了所谓的1-1-1慈善模型。在该模型中,Salesforce拿出其产品、股票和员工工时的1%用于慈善事业,后来有很多企业也以该模型为蓝本推出了类似的慈善项目。而贝尼奥夫的个人捐款已经达到数百万美元之巨,他还推动未捐过款的硅谷精英加入到慈善事业之中。他有理由相信Salesforce不会存在薪酬不公的问题。“不可能,”他告诉同事,“这种做法是错误的,不是我们的工作方式。”

然而事实确如其公司高管所言。为了将女性员工薪酬提升至男性同等水平,Salesforce前后两次各投入了300万美元,总计600万美元。第三方审计机构发现,之所以后来又出现薪酬不平等现象主要是由于Salesforce在此期间收购了几家公司,而在被收购的公司中存在男女薪酬不公问题。

对于那些熟悉贝尼奥夫的人来说,这则轶事已经是耳闻能详。但在《开拓者》一书中,贝尼奥夫对他的感悟以及经历进行了更深入的描述。诸如:偏见何以渗透到商业活动的方方面面,被排斥在会议之外如何剥夺一个人的机会,以及他和兰利在书里所写的,“企业文化也能滋生不平等现象”,而他的管理理念正来源于此。这些理念应该成为当今商业领袖的必修课程。《开拓者》的每一章节都有值得列入企业宣言的金句,例如:与仅仅服务股东相比,服务员工和社区能够更直接地实现增长、推动创新。

在书中的一些地方,贝尼奥夫向读者所作的知识普及,可能会影响其主题的表达。比如,如果他没有简述自己对冥想的思考,我可能会更容易理解他想说什么。但是总的来说,他所展现出的领导智慧值得所有的企业家学习,也值得商学院收录作为授课内容。(财富中文网)

本文登载于《财富》杂志2019年11月刊,标题为《贝尼奥夫式营商》。

译者:梁宇

审校:夏林

In the spring of 2015, two senior Salesforce executives paid a visit to the home of their CEO, Marc Benioff, to deliver some uncomfortable news: Women at the company, they suspected, were being paid less than their male counterparts for the same jobs. As his colleagues spoke, Benioff could feel the indignation and astonishment reshaping his face. “I’ll admit, my defensiveness was welling up,” he writes in his compelling new book, Trailblazer: The Power of Business as the Greatest Platform for Change, coauthored by former Wall Street Journal writer Monica Langley.

The self-made tech billionaire, whose company sells subscription software for a rather prosaic-sounding task—customer-relations management—had already made a name for himself as a philanthropist-¬provocateur. Long ago he had instituted a widely copied program called 1-1-1 in which Salesforce donated 1% each of its product, equity, and employee time to charitable causes. Benioff had personally given away millions of dollars and tweaked the Silicon Valley elite who didn’t. And in the case of Salesforce itself, he was sure things couldn’t be so unfair. “Impossible,” he told his colleagues. “That’s not right. That’s not how we operate.”

As it turns out, it was—and Salesforce spent $3 million to bring women’s salaries up to parity. The following year, when his team, again, discovered that pay was out of whack, it cost another $3 million to fix. A third audit found that the inequity persisted, largely due to acquisitions Salesforce had made in the interim. (Gender pay gaps had been built into those companies too.)

For those who have followed Benioff’s career, the anecdote is a familiar one. But in Trailblazer, he goes much deeper into what he learned and how he learned it. And the management insights he draws from this experience and others—how bias creeps into the day-to-day practices of business; how being left out of a meeting can rob someone of opportunity; “how a company’s culture can breed inequality in ways small and large,” as he and Langley write—ought to be a required curriculum for today’s business leaders. Indeed, in chapter after chapter, Trailblazer draws the tenets of a new corporate manifesto—one in which serving employees and community offers a more direct path to growth and innovation than serving shareholders alone.

There are moments in the book where Benioff’s personal pursuit of enlightenment may be a distraction from the message—I could have done without his brief meditation on meditation, for instance. But overall, the leadership wisdom he delivers is one every businessperson should know. If only the B-schools taught it as well.

This article appears in the November 2019 issue of Fortune with the headline “Business the Benioff Way.”

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