经济学人官方译文节选 | 麦肯锡的新老板有些修补工作要做,还必须和科技行业打交道

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McKinsey’s new boss has repair work to do, and must tackle the tech sector
麦肯锡的新老板有些修补工作要做,还必须和科技行业打交道

THE Jesuits, the US Marines and the Freemasons: McKinsey has been compared to them all, at one time or other. The firm prides itself on being the most prestigious management consultancy, sending out its bright, young footsoldiers to advise executives and policymakers on tricky strategic issues. It is everywhere, counselling 90 of the top 100 firms (as ranked by Forbes magazine). Among its many government assignments it is helping Britain to leave the EU, Lebanon to fix its economy and the Saudis to wean themselves off oil.
耶稣会、美国海军陆战队、共济会——在不同的时候,人们曾把麦肯锡和这三者相提并论。作为最负盛名的管理咨询公司,麦肯锡颇感自豪。它派出聪明年轻的干将,为高管和政策制定者提供建议来解决棘手的战略问题。它无处不在,为《福布斯》100强企业中的90家做过咨询。它还为多国政府出谋划策,例如帮英国脱欧,帮黎巴嫩修复经济,帮沙特摆脱对石油的依赖。

Occasionally the company needs new leadership itself. On February 25th the result of a long election process was made public. Kevin Sneader, the Scottish chairman of McKinsey’s Asia unit, will replace Dominic Barton as managing partner—the top job. He inherits a thriving business. The firm remains by far the biggest of the premium consultancies (see table). Over the past decade, annual revenues have doubled to $10bn; so too has the size of the partnership, to more than 2,000.
有时候这家公司自己也需要新的领导。2月25日,在经过漫长的选举后,结果出炉了。麦肯锡亚洲区董事长、苏格兰人施南德(Kevin Sneader)将取代鲍达民(Dominic Barton)担任全球总裁——公司的最高领导人。他继承的是一个欣欣向荣的公司。麦肯锡仍是顶级咨询公司中规模最大的一家。过去十年间公司年收入增加了一倍,达到100亿美元;合伙人的规模同样翻番,超过了2000人。

The firm has also overhauled its own operations in many respects. Mr Barton claims that half of what it does today falls within capabilities that did not exist five years ago. It is working to ensure that customers turn to McKinseyites for help with all things digital. It has had to make acquisitions in some areas: recent purchases include QuantumBlack, an advanced-analytics firm in London, and LUNAR, a Silicon-Valley design company. It is increasingly recruiting outside the usual business schools to bring in seasoned data scientists and software developers.
公司还从许多方面彻底改革了自己的业务运作。鲍达民称,目前开展的业务中有一半在五年前是没有能力做的。公司正在努力确保客户在所有数字化问题上都会向麦肯锡求助。它不得不在一些领域做出收购:最近买下的公司包括伦敦的高阶分析公司QuantumBlack和硅谷的设计公司LUNAR。以往它多从商学院招人,现在则越来越多地引进资深数据科学家和软件开发人员。

Staying relevant to big tech firms is not easy, however. McKinsey has kept plenty of older ones as clients, such as Hewlett Packard, but it has a lot more to do to crack new tech giants and unicorns (private startups worth more than $1bn). In general, management consultancies have made fewer inroads into firms such as Facebook and Google. That is partly because consultants typically help struggling firms cut costs; they have less appeal to firms already on the cutting edge. Cash-rich tech firms also tend to prefer keeping things in-house rather than bringing in consultants. They compete with McKinsey in some ways, too. Amazon has become the largest recruiter at some business schools, and the firm’s own consultants are lured away by tech firms’ generous pay packages.
不过,和大型科技公司建立业务并不容易。麦肯锡的客户中仍有着大量像惠普这样的老牌科技公司,但要拿下新的科技巨头和独角兽公司(价值超过10亿美元的私营创业公司)还要下不少功夫。总的来说,管理咨询公司进军Facebook和谷歌这类公司的成果不多。这在一定程度上是因为咨询顾问通常都是帮助陷入困境的公司削减成本,对于已经处于领先地位的公司它们的吸引力不大。现金充裕的科技公司也倾向于在公司内部解决问题,而不是引入咨询顾问。它们在某些方面也与麦肯锡竞争。亚马逊已经成为一些商学院最大的招聘者,而且麦肯锡的咨询顾问也会被科技公司用高薪挖走。

经济学人官方译文节选 | 麦肯锡的新老板有些修补工作要做,还必须和科技行业打交道

McKinsey’s response is to try to gain a foothold earlier on in tech firms’ life-cycles. It is targeting medium-sized companies, which would not have been able to afford its fees, by offering shorter projects with smaller “startup-sized” teams. As it chases growth, the firm is also doing things it used to eschew as being insufficiently glamorous. In 2010 it moved into business restructuring and it has also set up a global strategy “implementation” practice. That is a far cry from the days when its consultants stuck mainly to blue-sky thoughts in their ivory towers. Mr Barton has also overseen a shift towards a results-based fee model, bringing the firm into line with its nearest competitors, the Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Company.
麦肯锡的应对方法是力图在科技公司生命周期的早期获得立足点。它现在瞄准了以前付不起咨询费的中型企业,以较小的“创业公司规模”的团队为这些企业提供较短期的服务项目。为了追求增长,公司也在从事一些以前因觉得不够光鲜而回避的业务。2010年,它启动业务重组,还建立了全球战略“落实”体系。这与公司之前的形象差距很大——过去,咨询顾问们蹲在自己的象牙塔里,死守着大多不切实际的设想。鲍达民还监督公司向按成果收费的模式转变,让公司与实力最接近的竞争对手波士顿咨询集团(Boston Consulting Group)和贝恩公司(Bain & Company)保持一致。

As McKinsey takes on more people and practices, cracks in its distinctive “One Firm” ethos, and its reputation for discretion, might start to show. It is under investigation in South Africa for working with Trillian, a local consulting firm owned by an associate of the controversial Gupta family, on a contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars for Eskom, a state-owned utility. The firm says it never worked for the Guptas, but admits to “errors of judgment”, particularly in starting work with Trillian before its internal due diligence was complete. The fallout so far has been limited to South Africa, with a few local clients, including Coca-Cola’s local unit and some banks, saying they will not give McKinsey any new work.
随着麦肯锡招募越来越多的员工、开展越来越多的业务,它那“同一家公司”的独特理念以及审慎的声誉可能会逐渐显现出漏洞来。公司正在南非接受调查,它和当地咨询公司Trillian合作赢得了一份价值数亿美元的合同,为国有的南非国家电力公司(Eskom)提供服务,而Trillian的所有者是当地颇具争议的古普塔家族(Gupta family)的一名合伙人。麦肯锡表示自己从没有为古普塔家族工作过,但承认“判断失误”,尤其是内部尽职调查还未完成就开始与Trillian合作。到目前为止,此事件的影响仅限于南非,包括可口可乐南非子公司和一些银行在内的几家当地客户表示不会给麦肯锡任何新工作。

Events in South Africa may be an aberration, rather than a consequence of rapid growth. But the tension between profit and principle is not new. It manifested itself most clearly when Rajat Gupta, a former managing partner, was convicted of insider trading in 2012. Can McKinsey continue to grow rapidly while keeping its key asset—its reputation as a trusted adviser—intact? Now there is a question worthy of the world’s best consultants.
南非事件可能是一时失手,而非快速增长的结果。但利润与原则之间的矛盾并不是什么新问题。麦肯锡前全球总裁顾磊杰(Rajat Gupta)在2012年被判犯有内幕交易罪,就充分体现了这种矛盾。麦肯锡能否在保持快速增长的同时保护好自己的关键资产——“可信赖的顾问”这一声誉?这个问题值得请世界上最好的咨询顾问来回答了。

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