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太听话的员工拯救不了美国经济

Eleanor Bloxham 2012年07月11日

让员工认同效力的公司,这从理论上听起来很理想。但商业领袖必须设法把员工从公司同侪压力中解放出来。只有打破整齐划一的盲从,员工之间才有可能展开催生创新的合作。

    六月份的就业报告令人失望,新闻称美国制造业增长缓慢,股市比十年前还要低迷。我们该换个新的视角重新评估美国经济形势了。

    星巴克公司(Starbucks)首席执行官霍华德•舒尔茨长期以来坚持推动对美国经济的探讨并且关注美国的就业需求,这一点确实值得赞赏。加里•哈默尔说的很对。他表示,该如何处理现如今差强人意的员工敬业度状况,老板们必须扪心自问。这两大问题相互关联,其中一个是宏观问题,而另一个较为具体。两大问题悬而未决都已经很久了。

    为了应对这些问题,我们必须诉诸一些颠覆性的观点,同时还要考虑那些挑战传统观念的解决方式。《大白话》(Talk Normal)一书的作者蒂姆•菲利普斯表达的观点即是如此。他在书中没有用寻常方式来探讨员工的敬业度问题,也没有像很多人那样仅仅表达支持。他精确指出了企业病的一个主要根源所在,那就是员工对企业的认同感。

    这听起来有悖常理。毕竟,如果你让人们认同自己工作的公司,他们会更投入,这听起来是合理的。这应该是件好事,不是吗?但大多数人的身份感和自我价值感取决于他们的工作单位。菲利普斯称,正因为此,很多人为了适应环境会屈服于公司压力,他们的观点会被群体思维所吞噬。他们不太可能在正确的时候提出反对意见。

    创新性的观念和解决方案也不会从这种唯唯诺诺中产生。它也会使董事会成员忘记自己所肩负的更宏观的责任,那就是促进社会良善,这也正是舒尔茨努力提倡的。对公司团队的认同会让我们无视《站在太阳之上》(Standing on the Sun)作者茱莉亚•科尔比和克里斯•梅尔所说的“竞争崇拜”,这会阻碍那种能产生真正创新的合作。

    认同自己的工作单位可能有问题,这种观点听起来当然很荒谬。但如果我们是以严肃态度来解决舒尔茨和哈默尔所关注的这种似乎很棘手的问题,那么董事会成员和其他商业领袖就有必要去接受这些有悖直觉的观念。

    梅根•哈斯塔德在一篇名为《工作中太自我意味着灾难》(When 'being yourself' at work spells disaster.)的文章中用另外的方式指出了这一观点。哈斯塔德称,那些并未真正参与到任何企业的自由职业者拥有一个优势,那就是他们可以把精力集中于完成工作,不太容易受到公司政治的妨碍,或者为了努力去适应环境而心烦意乱。正如我们所知,努力适应公司在我们的职业生涯中是不可避免的一环。

    我在一家金融服务企业进行业绩评估时曾经为一名员工提供建议。我认为,这是我针对员工提出的最佳建议。当时那位员工的评估结果并非百分百优秀,但也不差。评估之后是较大幅度的加薪。

    我对他说:“这不仅仅是我的意见,也包括其他人的观点,但这是从我的想法中修改和发展而来的。你可能认为有用,但也可能没用。我在这里说了什么对最终报告来说不是关键。十年以后你不会在乎,也不应该在乎。真正重要的是你自己的想法。请从这份评价中尽量选取有用的信息,丢弃掉其他部分。我只是想为你提供帮助。”

    With a disappointing June jobs report, news that U.S. manufacturing is slowing, and the stock market below levels of a decade ago, it's time to put on some fresh goggles and reevaluate our economic condition.

    Certainly, Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz deserves applause for his persistent attempts to push the conversation on our economy and address our need for jobs. And Gary Hamel is right that bosses need to look in the mirror to deal with the sorry state of employee engagement today. Both of these problems are related: one a macro example, the other, on a smaller scale. And both have dragged on for a very long time.

    To address these issues, we'll need to appeal to some upside-down thinking and consider solutions that fly in the face of conventional wisdom. And Tim Phillips, author of Talk Normaldelivers just that. Rather than discuss employee engagement in the usual way, or simply encourage it as many might, he pinpoints a major culprit of corporate malaise: when workers identify with their corporations.

    That sounds a bit counter-intuitive. After all, it would seem to make sense that if you get people to identify with the company they work for, they would be more engaged, which should be a good thing, right? But far too many people hinge their identity and self-worth to the organizations they work for. Because of this, Phillips argues, many succumb to corporate pressure to fit in, their ideas are swallowed up by groupthink, and they are less inclined to blow the whistle when they should.

    Creative ideas and solutions don't come from this kind of repetitive head-bobbing either. It also causes board members to forget their broader responsibilities to promoting social good (which Schultz is trying to correct). And identification with the corporate team can blind us to what Julia Kirby and Chris Meyer, co-authors of Standing on the Sun, call the "cult of competition," which prevents the kind of cooperation that produces real innovation.

    Sure, the idea that identifying with your workplace may be problematic sounds paradoxical. But if we are serious about solving the kind of seemingly intractable problems that Schultz and Hamel have in their sights, board members and other business leaders are going to need to become comfortable with counter-intuitive ideas.

    Megan Hustad pointed this out in a different way in an article titled "When 'being yourself' at work spells disaster." Freelancers who aren't identified at all with a specific firm have an advantage: they can focus on getting the job done, Hustad argues, and they are less hampered by the politics or distraction of fitting in that seems inevitable in corporate life as we've known it.

    I think the best advice I have given any employee first came out when I was delivering a performance review at a financial services firm. It was not a 100% stellar review but it wasn't a bad one either. And attached to it was a good raise.

    "This is just my opinion," I told him. "Sure, it may be somewhat filtered through others' views but it was massaged and has come out of my thinking. You may find it helpful -- but maybe it's not. In the final analysis, it doesn't matter at all what I wrote here. Ten years from now, you won't care and you shouldn't. What matters is what you think. Take the good from it that you can -- and please discard the rest. I am just one human, trying to be helpful."

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