领导需要信得过的军师 / Leaders Need Trusted Advisors

领导需要信得过的军师

最近我在北京和一位老朋友聊天,他是位企业家,执掌的公司发展迅猛。他刚和一家策略投资集团达成合作,结成了新的业务伙伴。这不仅使他现有的业务迅速扩张,企业规模和企业形态发生了转变,也让他的管理责任自然而然地更加多元化。

作为领导,要跟上企业的急剧变化,他感到了挑战。时间管理就是一个大问题。撇开工作负荷的增加不谈,他的直接下属就从原来集中在一个中心办公室变成如今分散在不同的地点,而合作方的主要业务负责人也不在同一处办公。要想在同一时间出现在不同地点,他肯定是分身乏术。而可视会议就算再好,也不能完全替代面对面的沟通。

在业界他是备受尊重的专家,他本人的声望再加上公司的品牌构成了一笔巨大的资产。但同时,他几乎没有接受过任何正式的管理培训。值得称道的是,他对可信赖的外部参谋却能做到不耻下问,而且在求教过程中能把自己的优势劣势和盘托出。

虽然他的公司所在的细分市场发展迅速,但最近竞争对手也曾出现过几次重大闪失,可见一步错、步步错的管理风险确实存在。

其中一个难点就是要在扩张速度和产品及服务的多样化之间找到平衡。虽然急速扩张和过快开展多种经营都存在一定的风险,但他和新合作伙伴已经立下了宏图大志。而他作为领导也必须为此把握好清晰的节奏和进度。

现在,来自各方的压力让他应接不暇,而这种感觉又显然不能对包括同事及合作方在内的人明说。也许他可以跟夫人聊聊这种事,但也许又没法聊。比如,他可能担心一旦向夫人坦白了这些烦恼,不仅于事无补,反而会产生一些没必要的不安情绪。

我的朋友比较幸运,他有一群值得信赖的高参,可以私下求教,寻找最佳的解决办法,同时打听内幕消息。

但这不并是天上掉馅饼,而是因为他未雨绸缪,早就预见到自己将来会需要意见和建议,于是在五年多前就组建起一支非正式的免费智囊团。这简直是太明智了。

当然,主动出击,在公司外部寻找一个或几个顾问、导师也是个办法,不管是付费还是免费。

事情的关键在于领导需要的是能在私下请教的、可以信赖的参谋,尤其是在面临巨大挑战和变革的时期。这些参谋需要具备尽可能多的处置相关生活及管理状况的经验,但重于一切的是他们必须受到信任。

我们曾经讨论过一些比较简单的办法,可以帮他解决日益严峻的时间管理问题。

首先,不要被日常工作所淹没,掉进常见的“只见树木不见森林”的陷阱。(每周或每天)要固定一个时间,从更高层次审视工作的进展和轻重缓急。做好这件事最好远离办公室和办公桌,也许可以通过运动、锻炼、瑜伽、祷告、冥想或听音乐完成——只要你找到适合自己的方式。重点是要经常性地寻求从更高层面审视个人及组织的目标及发展,不再相对孤立地看待问题。

其次,要找到定期重温使命的办法。如有必要,可以把它写在一张纸上,放到办公桌最上面的抽屉里,每周一早晨拿出来朗读一下。具体怎么做并不重要,只要能达到定期复习、强化重点的目的就行,这可以降低日常工作中出现的重心分化、精力分散的情况。一定要坚决地把时间用在关乎使命的行为上,减少在其他方面的时间投入。

我们还讨论了内部沟通的问题,包括网络沟通和视频会议的优缺点——它们都是提高管理沟通效率的重要方式,但仍然取代不了面对面的交流,尤其是在企业迅速发展和变化、领导与下属急需建立信任和团队合作的时候。

很多企业家和高管在个人及事业发展之初都缺乏远见或勇气去寻找非正式的参谋,待到事业有成、扬名立万之时,寻找和培养信得过的高参非但不会变得容易,反而会变得更加复杂。

我朋友的经验很值得借鉴:及早找到信得过的参谋对未来的发展大有裨益。

Leaders Need Trusted Advisors

I recently had a conversation in Beijing with an old friend, who is an entrepreneur at the helm of a fast-growing company. He recently concluded a deal bringing in a strategic investor group as a new partner in the business. As a result, his original business is not only expanding quickly, but changing in size and shape; and his management responsibilities have naturally diversified as a reflection of that.

He is feeling challenged as a leader to keep up with rapid change. Time management is a big issue. Apart from workload issues, his team of direct reports is now deployed in multiple locations as opposed to one central office. His partner also has key executives involved in his business at offices in various locations. He obviously cannot be in multiple places at once. Video conferencing is a wonderful tool, but it cannot completely replace face to face conversations.

He is one of the most respected experts in his field, and the combined reputational strength of his as well as his company’s brands are tremendous assets. At the same time, he has little or no formal training in management. To his credit, he is not afraid to seek advice and counsel from trusted outside advisors, and in doing so, he speaks frankly and realistically of his strengths and weaknesses.

The market niche his company serves is growing fast, but there have been several recent high-profile business failures among competitive peer companies; so the risks of a management mis-step are very real.

One key challenge is striking the right balance in the pace of expansion and diversification of product and service offerings. Overly rapid expansion and diversification involves certain risks; yet he and his new strategic partner have signed off on ambitious growth plans, and as the leader, he is expected to set a brisk pace and tempo.

For the time being, he is feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the magnitude and scope of the challenges; although this is obviously not a feeling he can announce to colleagues or partners. Maybe it’s something he can productively discuss with his spouse, or maybe not. For example, he may be concerned that sharing his uncertainties with his spouse may create unnecessary anxiety, and not really yield productive insights anyway.

Fortunately, in my friend’s case, he has a good network of trusted advisors to quietly reach out to, in order to explore best practices and seek insights.

This is not a coincidence, however. He had the foresight to anticipate his future need for such advice. As a result, he established an informal, unpaid advisory board more than five years before he really needed it. Very smart move.

Of course, an alternative would be to reach out to one or more coaches or mentors, whether paid or not.

The point is, leaders need trusted advisors they can turn to on a confidential basis, especially in times of great challenge and change. Such advisors need to have experience dealing with as wide a variety of relevant life and leadership situations as possible, but above all, they need to be trusted.

We discussed several fairly simple ways to assist with his escalating time management challenges.

One is to avoid the common trap of getting so overwhelmed with daily and weekly workflow that you can no longer see the forest for the trees. Institute a regular (weekly or daily) time for reflection from a higher level vantage point, to renew your overview of progress and priorities. This is probably best achieved away from your desk and workplace. You may find it through sports, exercise, yoga, prayer, meditation, music — whatever works for you. The key is to regularly seek a higher level perspective and reflect on personal and organizational goals and developments from that slightly detached level.

Secondly, find ways to regularly and repeatedly revisit your mission statement. If needs be, write it on a piece of paper, store it in your top desk drawer, and re-read it every Monday morning. The details of how this is done are not important, as long as you find ways to revisit and refocus on a regular basis, to minimize distraction and dilution of effort in your ongoing work. Be ruthless about focusing your time on mission-critical activities, and de-emphasizing time spent on others.

We also discussed internal communications, including the pros and cons of various online communications platforms as well as video conferencing — all of which are great enhancements to the efficiency of management communications. Still, especially in times of rapid growth and change, there is no substitute for face to face communications when it comes to building trust and teamwork between the leader and his or her direct reports.

Many entrepreneurs and executives lack the foresight or courage to reach out to informal advisors in the early stages of their personal and career growth. As their success grows and they become better known in their field, reaching out and developing trusted advisors becomes more rather than less complicated.

My friend’s experience is one worth learning from: reach out and develop trusted advisors, sooner rather than later. It will serve you well for years to come.


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领导需要信得过的军师 / Leaders Need Trusted Advisors》上有 9 条评论

  1. 陈友明 说道:

    领导需要信得过军事。
    1.战略的问题,军师必须同一把手谈。
    2.军师的高度,主要取决于领导对他的信任度。
    3.军师的积分,取决于平日的积分,由此进一步决定领导对他的信任度。(一醉卧江流.贵州赤天化陈友明)

  2. 匿名 说道:

    评 5 分

  3. 匿名 说道:

    评 5 分

  4. 中文翻譯地道。應該做範本。

  5. 匿名 说道:

    评 3 分

  6. 匿名 说道:

    评 3 分

  7. 匿名 说道:

    评 5 分

  8. 匿名 说道:

    评 5 分

  9. 匿名 说道:

    评 5 分

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