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企业缘何改革乏力

大刀阔斧的企业改革从来离不开员工们的支持。

    这已经是司空见惯的情景了——在低迷的经济复苏期,很多公司为实现盈利而拼命寻找新的发展途径。然而,并非所有的公司都能取得成功。

    美国网络视频租赁公司网飞(Netflix)之前曾宣布将公司业务拆分成两部分,把DVD邮寄业务从流媒体服务中分离出来;但之后又撤销了这项决定。美国通用汽车(General Motors)与中国上汽集团(Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation)进一步加强合作,共同开发电动汽车的关键零部件,从而扩展了该公司的海外合作领域。泰科国际(Tyco International)宣布将公司拆分成三家各具特色的上市公司。

    上述三家企业都希望从这些举措中获利;但要真正实现这个目标,他们还有很长的路要走。毫无疑问,企业领导者对如何取得成功都有自己的一套想法,但是他们不得不面对一个残酷的事实:企业的改革尝试往往收效不佳。

    确实如此。2011年,经济学人智库(Economist Intelligence Unit)以及国际企业咨询公司Celerant Consulting(作者莎莲娜所在企业)联合发布了一项调查显示,尽管企业在执行时间及开销上都加大了投入,但是他们根本不擅长改革,其中近半数企业(占44%)都遭遇了失败。

    失败的根源在于他们普遍忽视了一项关键因素。要想获得改革的成功,不仅要为实现新目标而创造最好的工作流程和体制,还要让员工们热情拥抱这一新目标。只有得到员工的大力支持,企业的重大改革才能成功。

    高管着手开创公司新的发展篇章之前需要重点关注三方面的内容。

信息的有效传达

    制定合理的改制信息和激励措施是改革最为关键的一步。众所周知,并不是所有的员工都是为金钱而工作。有些员工是为了超越同行而不懈努力,有些人则是受求知欲的驱使,还有一些人关注的焦点则在于迅速升职。

    以网飞公司为例。起初,网飞公司准备打造两项拥有各自网站的独立服务业务;而后,消费者的强烈反对致使该公司不得不放弃这一决定。网飞公司相信作为不同实体的两个单位会取得更加辉煌的业绩。然而,战略转型的内容及部署却受到消费者及分析人士的强烈批评。

    目前,网飞公司已经暂时取消了改革计划。公司发展的方向成为一个疑问,在这种情况下,保持员工的忠诚度则显得比以往任何时候都更为重要。

    推行改革期间,部分员工会欣然投入到新产品的研发中,另一部分人也许更喜欢从事自己熟悉的老本行。所以,网飞公司可以就此评估一下员工偏爱的工种,并对其进行分组,从而最大程度地发挥员工的优势和工作热情。

密切关注潜在的文化冲突

    没有明确改革方向的企业如同茫茫大海中一艘失去舵手的船,即使改革方案再完美,也难以避免失败的命运。如果公司上下团结一致,为共同的目标而奋斗,那么任何反对意见都不会造成实质性的阻碍。

    通用汽车公司在开始与中国上汽集团展开合作时就应将这一点谨记于心。成功始于共同的愿景。无论是企业CEO、生产经理,还是部门主管,他们在向员工们解释为什么全新的道路会带来成功时,都必须认同这个共同的愿景。

    推行一项改革,首先要做的就是让公司的各类人才适得其所,这样的改革才会拥有稳固的根基。对每一位员工来说,确立个人目标、明确自我角色以及应负的责任同样有助于改革的实施。但这些举措也许还不足以令员工全身心投入。只有公司上下齐心协力,才能打造一支优秀的团队,这个团队向往公司设立的新目标,即使在新环境中也能够拿出优异的表现。

及时巩固改革成果

    就美国泰科公司而言,如果行动迅速,拆分成三家公司的举措将很可能实现期望中的价值增长——即业务拆分顺利完成,新的工作团队各归其属,而且三家公司的业务优化都已开始发挥作用。

    泰科公司CEO爱德华•布莱因的改革计划再明确不过。“与现有的企业结构相比,新成立的独立公司可以拥有更大的灵活性,分别制定各自的战略,例如通过有机发展或者并购等方式实现发展壮大。”

    独立性能让每家子公司在开始拥有强大的动力,但是对泰科来说,最重要的是,如何让员工在新鲜感逐渐消褪后依然保持强劲的工作状态。

    为了巩固这种积极的局面,管理者需要懂得如何自然地激励下属维持出色的表现。新公司成立的前六个星期里,每天拿出一或两个小时针对新体系的优点进行培训,会取得非常不错的效果。

    当然,想要更加全面地了解每一位下属并非易事。不过,这完全可以从头做起,从现在开始随时关注团队中每一位成员的优势及偏好。

    合作关系的建立、业务的拆分以及新愿景的提出,没有一项属于惊人的举措,但是如今市场的快速发展导致留给企业犯错的余地大幅压缩。领导者可以迫使员工进行改革,或是吸引他们,主动参与到改革中。前者带来的往往是短期效益,而后者最有可能带来员工持久的工作热情。只有真正了解员工,的企业才能具备基础,成长为更强大、更睿智、更高效的组织。

    莎莲娜•埃文斯现任Celerant Consulting国际企业咨询公司主管;格里塔•罗伯茨是人力分析公司(Talent Analytics)创始人及CEO。

    译者:李淑玉/汪皓

    It's a common tale. In the midst of a sluggish economic recovery, many companies are frantically looking to find new ways to turn a profit. Some are pulling this off better than others.

    Netflix announced and then went back on a decision to split into two business lines to separate DVD delivery from streaming services. GM (GM) expanded its overseas alliance with China's SAIC Corp. to develop key components for electric cars. And Tyco International announced a split into three distinct, publicly traded companies.

    Each of these companies stands to make money off of these moves, but they have a long haul ahead. No doubt, corporate leaders have an idea of how they can succeed. But they will be battling against the reality that corporate change efforts often come up short.

    Indeed, a survey published in 2011 by the Economist Intelligence Unit and Celerant Consulting (Sharlene's employer) found that despite increases in both executive time and spending, companies are simply not that good at changing, failing nearly half of the time (44%).

    At the heart of these failures lies a common oversight. Change is about creating the best processes and systems to support a vision, but it is also about convincing employees to embrace new goals. No dramatic change will succeed unless the workforce is behind it.

    There are three areas executives should keep an eye on as they set out to create a new stage for their companies:

It's in the delivery

    Crafting the right message and incentives is a crucial step, and it is no longer surprising to find that money is not the root of all employee inspiration. Some employees are driven by the urge to outperform their peers, some by an interest in learning new trades, and others are focused on rising quickly through the ranks.

    Consider a situation like Netflix's (NFLX) move toward having two separate services with distinct websites – and then its about-face in response to customer backlash. The company believed that each unit would have more success as distinct entities. The messaging and deployment of the strategy change, however, drew criticism from consumers and analysts.

    Netflix has abandoned its plan for now. With the direction of the company in question, keeping employees committed has never been more important.

    Some employees will leap at the chance to participate in new product R&D, while others may prefer the familiar ground of maintaining existing lines. Netflix can keep its talent engaged by assessing its employees' preferences and splitting the teams into groups designed to maximize their strengths and enthusiasm.

Keeping tabs on potential culture clashes

    Companies that lack a clear direction run the risk of creating a rudderless environment that can derail even the best of plans. When companies come together for a common goal, resistance to the change can spell disaster.

    GM should certainly bear that in mind as it launches its partnership with SAIC. Success must begin with a vision that CEOs, plant managers, and department heads across the company can share as they explain to their staff why the new way will be successful.

    Inserting the right talent into the right kind of environment can certainly serve as a solid starting point. And establishing individual goals and giving a clear picture of roles and responsibilities also helps, but it may not be enough to get employees invested. It takes a concerted effort to establish teams that are attracted to the new business goals and perform well in the new environment.

Building endurance

    In a case like Tyco's (TYC), splitting into three companies will likely achieve the desired boost in value if it can move quickly. That means that when the split is complete and new teams are in place, the organizations should already be putting sustainable improvements to work.

    Tyco CEO Ed Breen's message is straightforward enough. "The new standalone companies will have greater flexibility to pursue their own focused strategies for growth -- both organic and through acquisitions -- than they would under Tyco's current corporate structure."

    Independence could get these units off to a strong start, but it will be important for Tyco to keep its workforce performing strongly when the novelty wears off.

    To keep up the positive results, managers will need to understand how their team is naturally inspired to perform. One or two hours per day of training on the finer points of their new organizational system can make a difference during the first six weeks of this new setup.

    True, trying to get a more complete understanding of your employees is demanding. Companies can start from the ground up, having managers create a running accounting of their teams' strengths and preferences.

    Partnerships, splits, and coming up with a new vision, none of these are startling initiatives, but the speed of today's market has vastly reduced a company's margin for error. Leaders can push their people to change, or they can attract people to want to be a part of the change. The former often leads to short-term gains, the latter stands more of a chance of sustainable enthusiasm from employees. Companies that understand their employees can set a foundation for a stronger, smarter, more effective organization.

    Sharlene Evans is a director at Celerant Consulting and Greta Roberts is founder and CEO of Talent Analytics.

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