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麦当劳为何不惧衰退?

麦当劳为何不惧衰退?

Beth Kowitt 2011年08月26日
凭借吉姆•斯金纳严谨、实用的领导风格,麦当劳餐饮帝国正在上演一场史无前例的超越。

    同时,实践证明,他也极富洞察力,即便他不同意下属的策略,但在公共场合,他总是会力挺公司的高管。克莱尔•巴布罗斯基在麦当劳工作了大约30年,据她回忆,当时自己担任北加利福尼亚地区总经理,结果遇到了一位非常难对付的特许经营人,他根本不按照公司倡导的方式运营连锁店。(截至目前,80%的麦当劳餐厅均由独立所有者经营)。最重要的是,他从来不戴领带——当时这是特许经营人必须遵守的惯例。在一次视察过程中,她当时的上司斯金纳把各方召集起来以便化解矛盾。巴布罗斯基表示:“不知道为什么,我没法不在意领带这事。在这一点上我绝不让步。”斯金纳并未阻止她,而是质问特许经营人,戴领带到底有多难。“晚上,吉姆邀请我共进晚餐,他问我,‘难道真的是因为领带吗?’”

    1992年,斯金纳被提升到国际事务部,负责在60个新市场推广巨无霸汉堡和炸薯条,其中包括欧洲部分地区、非洲和中东地区。等他回国负责国内业务的时候,他的足迹已经遍布全世界。

    2002年,斯金纳重新接过美国国内业务的重任时,麦当劳正在苦苦挣扎。公司沉迷于盲目扩张,2001年,每天新开店铺的数量超过3家。结果导致食品和服务的质量下降,公司股票和利润也随之大幅下跌。长期掌管麦当劳的吉姆•坎塔卢普退休之后重新出山,并任命斯金纳为副主席。新管理层实施了一项回归基本原则的变革策略——制胜计划(Plan to Win),该策略的核心是增加现有店铺的销售额来带动增长,而不是通过增开新店来促进增长。

    2004年4月,坎塔卢普和他的管理团队奔赴奥兰多出席公司举办的所有人-运营商大会。当天上午,坎塔卢普本应在会上发表一个类似于胜利演讲的讲话,但他突发心脏病,在斯金纳隔壁的房间去世。当天,董事会任命年富力强、魅力十足的查理•贝尔为公司新掌门人。但仅仅过了一个月,贝尔便被诊断出患有结直肠癌。公司和贝尔本人刚刚看到复兴的曙光,但他却不得不在11月份辞职。麦当劳前高管马特•利德豪森称:“诡异的是,先是吉姆(坎塔卢普)去世,然后是查理生病,可在这期间,公司竟然出现了前所未有的增长。”

    在公司有史以来最危急的关头,董事会决定任命60岁的斯金纳为公司CEO。巴布罗斯基表示:“至少在我看来,当时董事会选择吉姆是一个缓兵之计。”相对而言,在外人眼中,斯金纳始终默默无闻,他自称这是因为他一直在努力做个称职的二号人物。他说:“称职的二号人物从来不会篡夺老板的权力,更不会整天试图争名夺利。”

    冷静、沉稳的斯金纳上台之后,并未推出新政来重组摇摇欲坠的公司,而是保持了公司策略的连贯性。他强调,领导者的变化并不意味着公司策略也一定要变化。耶鲁大学管理学院(Yale School of Management)的杰弗里•索南菲尔德说:“他明白,没有必要按自己的想法重塑公司形象,也没必要将公司打上自己的烙印。”

    He proved to be insightful too, backing his executives publicly even if he didn't always agree with their tactics. Claire Babrowski, who worked for McDonald's for almost 30 years, remembers, as a manager in the North Carolina region, running into a difficult franchisee who wasn't operating his store the way the company liked. (To this day, 80% of McDonald's restaurants are operated by independent owners.) To top it off, he would never wear a tie -- standard practice at the time for franchisees. Skinner was her boss, and during a visit all parties met to hash out their issues. "For some reason I got off on the tie thing, which was so the least of it," Babrowski says. Skinner didn't stop her, instead turning to the franchisee to ask him how hard it would be to put on a tie. "Later at night Jim took me out to dinner, and he's like, 'Really? The tie?'"

    In 1992, McDonald's promoted Skinner to work in its international business, bringing Big Macs and fries to 60 new markets, including parts of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. By the time he came back to domestic operations he had worked in every region of the world.

    Skinner returned to the U.S. business in 2002 to a McDonald's that was floundering. The company was hooked on expansion; in 2001 it was opening more than three restaurants a day. The quality of the food and service had deteriorated as a result, along with the stock price and profits. Long-time McDonald's man Jim Cantalupo came out of retirement to run the company and elevated Skinner to vice chairman. The new executive team implemented a back-to-basics turnaround strategy -- the Plan to Win -- with a focus on growth through increasing sales at existing stores rather than by opening new locations.

    In April 2004, Cantalupo and his management crew traveled down to Orlando for the company's owner-operator convention. In the early morning hours the day Cantalupo was to give his remarks, a victory speech of sorts, he had a heart attack and died in the room next to Skinner's. That same day the board named the young, charismatic Charlie Bell as the company's new leader. But less than a month later Bell was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. While he and the company were at first optimistic about a recovery, he stepped aside in November. "The bizarre paradoxical thing was that in the midst of first losing Jim [Cantalupo] and then Charlie being ill, we were performing better than ever," says former McDonald's executive Mats Lederhausen. "It was surreal."

    The board looked to the 60-year-old Skinner to become the company's new CEO at one of the most delicate moments in its history. "The fact that it was Jim, at least from my point of view, was a comfort," Babrowski says. To the outside world, Skinner was relatively unknown, which he attributes to always being a good No. 2. "Good No. 2s don't usurp their boss's authority," he says. "They don't go around trying to take credit."

    Rather than shake up the already unsettled company by implementing a new approach, the no-drama Skinner came in on a platform of continuity, stressing that leadership change doesn't mean strategy change. "He understood that he didn't need to rebrand the company in his own image," says Jeffrey Sonnenfeld of the Yale School of Management. "He didn't need to imprint his persona."

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