《经济学人》老板整天在干嘛?
日期:2011-05-11 10:22

(单词翻译:单击)

Management

What do bosses do all day?
老板整天在干嘛?

The shocking truth can at last be revealed
惊人真相终将披露

May 5th 2011 | from the print edition

Gotta hone those networking skills
“撒网”技能有待磨练

THANKS to closed doors and fierce gatekeepers, bosses are tricky to observe in their natural habitat. Yet it might be useful to know what they do all day, and whether any of it benefits shareholders. A new Harvard Business School working paper sheds some light.

多亏了紧闭的房门和尽忠职守的把关者,老板们得以狡猾地呆在自己的窝里观察一切。然而,了解他们每天做什么,这些行为又对股东是否有利,也许是不无益处的。哈佛商业学院新披露的一份文件向我们揭示了部分真相。

Researchers asked the chief executives of 94 Italian firms to have their assistants record their activities for a week. You may take this with a grain of salt. Is the boss’s assistant a neutral observer? If the boss spends his lunch hour boozing, or in a motel with his assistant, will she record this truthfully? Nonetheless, here are the results.

调查对象为94位意大利公司的首席行政官,他们被要求让助理们记录下一周的活动。对这些,你也许不能全信。助理们是中立的观察者吗?如果老板在午餐时豪饮,或者和他的助理腻在汽车旅馆,她会如实记录吗?尽管有此种种不定因素,调查结果如下:

The average Italian boss works for 48 hours a week and spends 60% of that time in meetings. The most diligent put in another 20 hours. And the longer they work, the better the company does.

一般,意大利老板每周工作48小时,而且60%的时间花在会议上。最兢兢业业的人,工作时长甚至达68小时。而且,公司的运营状况和他们的工作时长成正比。

Less diligent chief executives are more likely to have one-to-one meetings with people from outside the company. The authors speculate that such people are trying to raise their own profile, perhaps to secure a better job. Bosses who work longer hours, by contrast, spend more of them meeting their own employees.

不那么勤勉的行政总裁,则更可能和公司以外的人进行一对一谈话。作者推测,他们的动机是增加自己的筹码,这样或许得到一份更好的工作。相比而言,工作时间更长的老板则大部分时间都和自己的员工在一起。

Bosses often complain that they get bogged down in day-to-day operations, says Rajesh Chandy, a professor at the London Business School. Regulations that make them legally responsible for their underlings’ wrongdoings are partly to blame. The prospect of jail is a powerful attention-grabber. Many bosses also feel they must dash around the world pitching to clients. Jim Hagemann Snabe, co-chief executive of SAP, a software firm, reckons that he met over 200 last year. Mr Chandy thinks bosses should spend less time with clients and more time thinking about the future.

伦敦商业学院的教授拉杰什.钱迪说道,老板经常抱怨他们纠结在日常业务中。导致此结果,部分可归咎于规章制度,是它们的存在使他们要为属下的违规行为负法律责任。坐监的景象可是个非常吸引注意力的玩意儿。许多老板同样觉得自己必须到处奔波,以兜售产品。软件公司SAP的联合首席行政官吉姆.哈格曼.什纳布估计他去年拜访了超过200家客户。钱迪先生认为老板的时间,不应多放在客户身上,而应在思考公司的未来上。

How much time they spend thinking about anything is hard to measure. But in an experiment, Mr Chandy measured how often bosses use forward-looking words like “will” and “shall” in their public statements. He concluded that bosses spend only 3-4% of their day thinking about long-term strategy.

老板花多少时间思考未来,很难衡量。但是在一个试验中,钱迪先生测算了老板在公开演说时愿景类词语,比如“将”“会”,出现的频率。由此得出结论,老板每天只花3-4%的时间思考长期战略。

Brian Sullivan, the chief executive of CTPartners, a headhunting firm, says the most difficult part of his job is saying no to people who want a piece of his time. “If it was up to our partners I would be at every pitch,” he says. Mr Sullivan says the only time he gets for blue-sky thinking is when he is in the sky. “Chief executives will rue the day when BlackBerrys work on planes,” he predicts.

猎头公司CTPartners的首席行政官布莱恩.沙利文说,他工作最困难的一部分在于对只需他“少少”时间的人说“NO”;“如果是客户的请求,我将随时恭候“。沙利文先生说只有在飞机上,他才能放松下紧绷的思考神经。他预测“如果黑莓在飞机上也能运行,首席执行官将无限懊恼。”

Bill Gates took regular “think weeks”, when he would sit alone in a cabin for 18 hours a day reading and contemplating. This, it is said, led to such strategic masterstrokes as “the internet tidal wave memo” in 1995, which shifted Microsoft’s focus (some say belatedly) to the web. But not every boss thinks he needs more time for thinking. “You can hire McKinsey to do that for you,” says one.

比尔.盖茨有自己固定的“思考周”。这样的日子里,他可以独自坐在小木屋,除了睡觉的6小时,其他都在读书和冥想。据传,此举常能激发盖茨在发展战略上的神来之思,比如1995年将微软的焦点(有人认为已经迟了)转向互联网,记入“因特浪潮备忘录”。但不是每位老板都认为他需要更多思考,有人说:“你可以雇佣麦肯锡公司来为你做这些!”

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重点单词
  • nonethelessadv. 尽管如此(仍然)
  • sapn. 半穿甲的(烧结铝粉); the liquid wi
  • neutraladj. 中立的,中性的 n. 中立者,空挡的,素净色
  • secureadj. 安全的,牢靠的,稳妥的 vt. 固定,获得,使
  • contrastn. 差别,对比,对照物 v. 对比,成对照 [计算机]
  • diligentadj. 勤奋的,用功的
  • habitatn. (动植物的)产地,栖息地
  • blamen. 过失,责备 vt. 把 ... 归咎于,责备
  • honen. 细磨刀石 vt. 磨刀,磨练 vi. 渴望,抱怨
  • strategyn. 战略,策略